Brothers Who Share the Spotlight – Catch the Baldwins on Satellite TV

In total, there are four Baldwin brothers. And, as fate has it, all are actors. The Baldwin family itself is actually quite large, with a grand sum of seven children-the three sisters, however aren’t in the acting biz. You can catch the blue eyed brothers Alec, Daniel, William and Stephen, on satellite TV. Although the success of each brother’s career has varied and quite a bit, they have all been in some notable movies. So to enjoy the goodness that is the Baldwin brood, sit back and scan the channels or rent some HD DVD’s.

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the bunch. He is also probably the most well known. He has starred in a range of movies, plays and TV shows. Plays featuring Alec include Serious Money, A Streetcar Named Desire and Macbeth. His filmography includes Beetlejuice, Glengarry Glen Ross, State and Main, Cats and Dogs, The Aviator, and Running with Scissors. His latest success has come about on the small screen. He plays the inimitable Jack Donaghy on the NBC hit 30 Rock starring Tina Fey. Baldwin has received a number of Academy Award nominations and has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance for his role on 30 Rock; he also won a Golden Globe in the same year (2007). Alec Baldwin is also known for his controversial political views. He is an animal rights activist and writes for the online blog The Huffington Post. You can catch Alec on the small screen in full HD glory in this latest season of 30 Rock.

Daniel Baldwin is probably best known for his role on Homicide Life on the Street; in the series he played the detective Beau Felton. His character was killed off after three seasons. Daniel went on to perform in a series of TV movies such as Family of Cops and Twisted Desire. He also had parts in Mullholland Falls and Trees Lounge. Daniel Baldwin has continually struggled with drugs and weight. Both his battles have been documented on reality TV shows.

William Baldwin started his career as a fashion model– although he does have a degree from Binghampton University in political science. He later moved on to films and television garnering critical success with his role in The Squid and the Whale. His earlier works include Flatliners, Backdraft, Bulworth, and Fair Game. He currently stars in the TV series Dirty Sexy Money.

Finally, we come to the youngest of the bunch, Stephen Baldwin. Here’s an interesting tidbit: in high school Stephen was a successful opera singer. He then went on to star in a handful of movies including the Unusual Suspects, The Beast of War and Bio-Dome. In 2002, Stephen participated in the ABC reality show Celebrity Mole Hawaii; he returned later on to do Celebrity Mole Yucatan. In 2006 Baldwin published a personal memoir detailing his conversion to Christianity. Today Stephen does a conservative radio talk show and works promoting his faith through the Breakthrough Ministry.

The Baldwin clan is certainly a varied bunch, but they are all quite talented. Catch up with this gifted troop by tuning in to your satellite TV feed-you’re bound to catch one of their many movies and TV shows. You can also see four of the brothers sans Alec in Born on the Fourth of July.

Searching for My Ancestors Through DNA and a Family Tree: Pleasant, But Unexpected, Surprises

I wouldn’t characterise my family as a very close family, but I had always shared a lot of hobbies and interests with my grandparents on my mother’s side when I was young. They saved a lot of family photos and movies dating about as far back as when photography was first possible, and they had big boxes of family letters. My grandfather, William Frank Sweany, was a novice photographer and filmmaker who knew how to splice old movies well and who kept a big collection of his work. However, he was officially a top accountant for Weirton Steel Corporation.

My grandparents collected art and old postcards. One of their boxes of papers contained lots of postcards from travels by various family members who ventured across the world and another box contained the letters that we wrote to each other when we were far away. My grandparents liked to read books as well as the news. At one point in around 1990, my grandfather purchased a book about the Sweeney family tree, his own family. Still, the information in that book was nothing like what one finds today in books now available online and on various websites. There’s no doubt that if my grandfather had lived today, he would have subscribed to one of those websites that permit researchers to explore their family trees as well as their DNA after sending for a test kit.

I recall the day we gathered around a giant poster board on the dining room table. I began to sketch a tree with branches in pencil, as I would later trace it in ink. Then I put my grandparent’s names in the middle: William Frank Sweany (a variation of Sweeney) and Freda Agnes Craig. The two of them were ecstatic about my interest in our family history and pleased about sharing the family names that they could recall. We managed to write about sixty names on the family tree. They wanted to give me all of the information they could remember before they forgot it. Although they didn’t know everything that I know today, the exploration process and the storytelling was remarkable. Getting as much information as I could from my grandparents was genuinely delightful. If only I could have shared with them what I know today!

Daniel Sweeney/Sweaney (1842-1931) of Ohio was one of the great patriarchs. All I knew was that he was of Irish descent and that he had fought the Civil War in Company B’s 80th Infantry from Ohio. With the power of the internet search engines, I later discovered newspapers which further revealed that he was a handsome war hero who married a pretty socialite by the name of Abbigail Lawrence Huber (1846-1916) from Pennsylvania. Daniel Sweeney will always be remembered for his love of country and his willingness to give whatever it took to keep the nation united. He was an old-fashioned Superman. There now happens to be a lot of information in the newspapers about this couple who had a total of 18 children. Likewise, their children had plenty of progeny, but as the years passed, future generations had fewer offspring. My grandfather (who was Daniel’s grandson) only had one daughter named Jacquelyne Sweany, perhaps because they wanted to send her to an outstanding university or trade school, which was part of the American dream those days.

Freda Agnes Craig, my grandmother, told me about her brother Thomas Craig who was an outstanding musician who supported himself by playing in Nashville, Tennessee. When he was growing up, he filled the house with guitars, harpsichords, and other instruments. Numerous women thought Thomas was a handsome man, but no one I know of caught his heart. I doubt I will ever comprehend the songs he wrote and played in Nashville, but I think he must have been quite proficient at having made a living with his music. His parents were quite disappointed when he left Ohio to go to Nashville since they didn’t understand the importance of an artist’s dedication to music. I only had the opportunity of meeting Thomas once, soon after we created the family tree on posterboard because I insisted upon travelling to Tennessee to meet with him as well as a few other relatives in Hohenwald.

When we got to Hohenwald, my grandfather took me through the woods nearby to see the ghost town of Riverside. There was nothing left but abandoned buildings in the woods. We entered what might have been my great grandfather’s old store, which I can faintly recall. It had been abandoned during the Great Depression of 1929 because it is said that my great grandfather’s customers could no longer pay for their purchases. The store was quite different from today’s stores since it was much smaller with everything inside glass cases or on shelves behind the cases. From the store, we moved on to an abandoned graveyard, probably dating back to the early 1800s, where he pointed out the two graves of my great-great-grandparents (on my grandmother’s side) who lay there side-by-side without tombstones per their request. It once had been a beautiful graveyard before the Depression prompted everyone to move away. Although I asked my grandfather to put a monument there and he had the means to do it, he had promised them never to add one, a tradition that I found to be quite strange.

My grandparents didn’t live to find out about their genetic heritage, but years later, I opted to get a DNA test of my heritage. There had been rumours that we had a little American Indian blood running in our veins. These rumours weren’t the case, according to my DNA test, which revealed that I was 47.9% English, 42.6% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, 6.2% Italian, and 3.3% Eastern European. I had my mother tested and discovered that she, too, had some Italian ancestry (2%), but was mainly Irish and English. Still, my father Wallace Morgan Williams Jr had a little more Italian DNA than my mother as his grandmother was discovered to be Fannie Lupo.

Fannie was a direct descendent of Ambrose Lupo, a famous composer and violinist born in Milan, Italy. He emigrated to England in the 1500s, leaving his wife and sons behind in Venice, to work as a musician for the king. It is said that he sent money to his wife and that his sons later followed him to play the violin for the king. How strange it was when I made this discovery, especially since my son Giovanni had asked to learn how to play the violin as a child. I wouldn’t have expected to find another musician in my father’s family line, especially since I am without musical talent myself.

Ambrose (Ambrogio) Lupo made a significant impact on the musical scene in England. One can find information about him in many books. Much of the story is speculation, but he is said to have been the violinist who worked the longest for the king and to have been a great composer. Although many doubt Ambrose Lupo’s Italian origins, his numerous descendants find that they do indeed have Italian DNA.

My father’s mother had always been a mystery. Fannie Lupo (1884-1937, Walker County, Georgia) died suddenly of a medical condition at the young age of 53. All memories of her had been erased after her husband Carl C Williams (1882-1954), another one of my great-grandfathers, married a second wife. To my knowledge, she had only had one son, Wallace M Williams Sr, who was my great grandfather on my father’s side. Little did anyone know that she descended from the talented Ambrose Lupo, whose progeny remained in England and emigrated to both Australia and America, where they landed in Maryland. This forgotten woman, whose name was never pronounced by anyone in my presence, descended from quite a talented family that had lived in England during the Renaissance. Quite a few Protestant preachers were in her family line, and that would be another interesting story. I can only imagine that they loved reading, learning, communicating, and giving advice to people in the ‘new’ colonies after they immigrated.

In my father’s family (that of Wallace Morgan Williams Jr), there were three ship captains from the British Isles. Captain John James Corker (1565-1657, Wiltshire, England) was the father of William Corker (1584-1677). John James Corker died in Jamestown, Virgina, in 1657. His descendent, Sarah Branch (1660-1713) married James Lupo (1655-1713) during the 17th century while the new nation was still a Colony. It was the Lupo family that had various influential Protestant preachers in their line. For instance, Laban Lupo (1750-1806) lived on the Isle of Wight in Virginia. He and Catherine Price had five sons who eventually moved to Robeson, North Carolina, in the early 1800s.

Discovering explorers such as ship captains in my family came as a surprise! It has also been a pleasure to know there were some scholarly men. There is less information about the women of the past, but I hope people will find more information about women in the future. Some of them were teachers, while others were homemakers. It seems like they had many children to raise, although a few of them had small families. There is not much evidence that women in my family focused on their careers. However, my great-grandmother on my mother’s side (William F Sweany’s mom) raised 13 children alone with her laundry services after her husband died during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. My grandmother, Freda Agnes Craig, was required to quit her job after she married because my grandfather wanted her to care for the house and her daughter.

My father’s side of the family was quite interesting: My paternal grandmother, Zelda Crane, was a quiet, soft-spoken woman from a religious family. Her silence and inability to express emotion might have been mistaken for her not having cared, but I now understand that she merely had a difficult time expressing affection. She had always assured other family members that we were related to Stephen Crane, the renowned American writer, and I had my doubts when I first received this news, just as I had previously had doubts about being a Native American. To my surprise, my family tree intersected with the genealogical tree with the family of Stephen Crane, so I think there is a good chance she was right.

Some Cranes immigrated from the British Isles to New Jersey. A man by the name of Henry Crane (b. England) had a son by the name of Stephen Crane in England in 1620. This son was not the famous American writer. However, he married Esther Norris in Monmouth, New Jersey, between 1663 and 1700. This Stephen died in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey in 1709. His son Nathaniel Crane was born in Elizabethtown, Essex, New Jersey, in 1702. Likewise, William Crane (1716-1784), the son of Nathaniel, lived with his wife Mary Wheeler (1721-1788) in Cranetown, Essex, New Jersey. This William Crane had a son named William Crane Jr (1742-1826). William and Elizabeth Gregory (b. 1780) had a son named William Crane the 3rd (1785-1850) who married Ophelia Arphie Suggs (1791-1881). They had a huge family as well as John Jackson Crane (1824-1894) who was to be one of my very great-grandfathers.

It is not easy to prove that the writer Stephen Crane is one of my distant cousins without getting more DNA samples from the Crane family. To my knowledge, Stephen Crane left no children as he died of tuberculosis in Germany at the early age of 28. My grandmother’s claims are compelling because Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was born in Newark, New Jersey. After his father Jonathan Townley Crane died, Stephen Crane’s mother left him with his uncle Edmund Crane in Sussex, New Jersey. Stephen also had a grandfather by the name of William Crane from Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey. His great grandfather Joseph Crane was also from Elizabethtown, while his great-great-grandfather Stephen Crane, a participant in the American Revolution, was born in 1709 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

It’s unlikely I will ever know the complete truth about the Cranes or other family members. Nevertheless, a heritage expedition is a journey that teaches along the way. Others are welcome to add to the knowledge base, expanding upon discoveries of treasure. Curious future generations are likely to fill in the missing gaps, to find still more treasures, while sharing knowledge of DNA and historical records with others in order to grow the tree’s branches. I’ve enjoyed the journey, so it’s my wish that, at some point, you will make your own flight through the generational branches on the forever-growing tree that connects humankind.

Daniel Craig’s Start in Showbiz

With the release of “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig has cemented his reputation as an exciting and talented addition to the James Bond franchise. His selection was a surprise to fans, many of whom had a tough time getting used to the first blonde actor to take on the role of the suave secret agent. However, Craig’s portrayal of 007 has won audiences over. The success has also garnered up a good deal of interest in his start in the entertainment world.

Daniel Craig began acting at the age of six. His mother was responsible for fostering his interest in the stage with frequent trips to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Throughout his younger years, he appeared in several school plays. When he was 16, Craig auditioned for the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He was accepted in 1984 and subsequently moved to London to focus seriously on his acting career.

As part of the National Youth Theatre, Craig was able to tour Europe and Russia, fine-tuning his acting skills in the process. After four years, he succeeded in gaining entrance to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where further training would introduce him to a new wave of top British actors, including Alistair McGowen, Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, and Damian Lewis.

The advanced instruction and career contacts paid off. Craig graduated in 1991, and he appeared in his first motion picture a year later. “The Power of One,” starring Stephen Dorff and Morgan Freeman, turned out to be a lackluster adaptation of the popular book by Bryce Courtenay. Thankfully, it didn’t slow down the young actor’s career.

Throughout the 1990s, Craig stuck mainly to television roles in series like “Our Friends in the North” and “Tales from the Crypt.” It wasn’t until playing Alex West opposite Angelina Jolie in “Laura Croft: Tomb Raider” that his movie career really took off. Playing the underhanded treasure hunter-and rival to Britain’s female counterpart to Indiana Jones-led to a role in the Tom Hanks hit “Road to Perdition” in 2002.

Craig’s first award-nominating roles would come in 2004. The first was as sly cocaine dealer XXXX in “Layer Cake.” This frantic, complicated story takes audiences deep into the British Mafia, where favors are owed and respect is earned and burned in a moment. The second was as Joe, a would-be rescuer and witness to a fatal accident in the drama “Enduring Love.” Craig received European Film Award nominations for Best Actor for his work in both movies.

In 2005, Craig starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” the story of the five men hired to kill the assassins responsible for killing 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Craig starred alongside Eric Banna and Geoffrey Rush in the drama that went on to be nominated for five Oscars and two Golden Globes, and it also won the AFI Film Award for Movie of the Year.

The next year would see Craig’s debut as British spy, James Bond, in the twenty-first official movie in the series. “Casino Royale” wasn’t just the first time a blonde James Bond hit the screen. It was a reboot of the Bond experience, resetting the clock on the spy’s years in service and establishing a new canon for the franchise.

Despite critics and fans struggling to accept these new changes, “Casino Royale” opened to great success. The film has earned just short of $600 million in sales worldwide, and at the time was the highest-earning movie in the series. The studios were shocked when the movie’s popularity was surpassed by “Quantum of Solace” in 2008.

Originally resistant to be tied into a long-term contract, Craig was dismayed when studios put the brakes on James Bond installments while the economy teetered. Unlike other leads for the franchise, Craig did not put his acting on pause during his contract. From 2008 to the release of “Skyfall” in 2012, the actor starred in four major films, including the English version of the popular Swedish trilogy “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” as well as the science fiction favorite “Cowboys & Aliens.”

Looking back on his long and varied career, many wonder how Daniel Craig joined the ranks of Hollywood’s top actors. With his reserved demeanor and knack for staying out of celebrity gossip, Craig certainly seems to have the level of professionalism it takes to make it big. His talent in action, adventure, drama and even fantasy roles show he has the talent to continue making great films for years to come. It’s humbling to realize he got his start on a typical stage in primary school among a crowd of six year olds.

Guns Don’t Kill People – Videogames Do!

“Ban these evil games”, “Videogame violence corrupting our nation’s youth”, “video games stole my husband”. It seems everyday that the media are making more and more claims about the evils of videogames. But are these claims based on fact, or is it merely that there is a juicy new scapegoat out there that the woes of the world can be pinned on?

Many people will be aware of the Daily Mail’s ‘Manhunt’ story by now. The paper ran with the first page headline of ‘Ban these evil games’, claiming that 17 year old Warren LeBlanc’s obsession with the ultra-violent Rockstar game ‘Manhunt’ drove him to beat his 14 year old friend, Stefan Pakeerah, over 50 times with both a claw hammer and knife. The tabloid then proceeded to assert “the hammer-and-knife killing mirrored scenes in the ultra-violent game”. The paper also ran a quote from the mother of the victim, saying that, despite the fact the game had an 18 certificate, “it’s no good saying this game is marketed at adults. Everyone knows that young children get their hands on them.”

But what was the real motive behind the murder, and the follow up story? It’s easy to see where the motive for the Daily Mail’s story came from. In the words of the panel of the IGDA (International Games Developers Association) “it was a slow news day”. And what better to liven it up than blood, violence and a convenient scapegoat?

There are two other important facts to remember about this awful murder. Firstly, what do the police say? After the headline in the Daily Mail you may think that they came to the conclusion that it was the game that set Warren off on his murderous way. However the conclusion that the police arrived at is that the motive was robbery. It turns out that Warren Leblanc had, in actual fact, a £75 drugs fuelled debt to a local gang when he lured his erstwhile friend into the park that night, and originally intended merely to rob him. The police report makes no mention of ‘Manhunt’ whatsoever. This may be because the game was discovered in Stefan’s room, rather than that of the killer. Both of these pertinent facts were absent from the Mail’s front page the day this story ran.

And one must ask, how was it that Mrs. Pakeerah missed the fact her own 14 year old son owned this ultra-violent game, which he could only have acquired if an adult had purchased it for him.

“But is the game any good?” I hear you cry. Quite simply, no. ‘Manhunt’ is one of those games that are the key stumbling blocks in the path of truly adult games. Computer games are now reaching the point where mature themes, meaning detailed, involving stories that can deal with events in the real world, and portray realistic reactions to them, are becoming possible. Yet some developers insist on pouring out games that are aimed only at fuelling the testosterone driven adolescent fantasies of teenage sadists. When you consider tack like ‘Manhunt’ in the light of games like ‘Half-Life 2’, with its compelling narrative interwoven through beautiful, breathtaking scenery, you realise just how tawdry ‘Manhunt’ really is.

The consensus at the IGDA meeting this year was that the game was merely “a rubbish game with a layer of crunchy ultra-violence slapped on top”. No doubt the loss of such a young child as Stefan Pakeerah was a tragedy in its own right, but the true tragedy here is twofold. Almost overnight the game, whose sales had been a mere trickle before, started flying off the shelves of those few shops who hadn’t banned it, the concept of censorship lending the game a certain cachet. Even worse, in the words of Rob Fahey of the IGDA, is the way in which “the games industry ‘close ranks’ to defend it [Manhunt] when its an aberration compared to most games – do you see Stephen Spielberg defending hardcore porn films?”

There are many well-documented stories of the media blaming video games for the world’s woes. They blame the twin-towers terrorist attack on Microsoft, who trained the pilots with their flight simulator software. They blame Doom for the shootings at Columbine High School, because the game where you openly flaunt weapons helped the boys secretively plan their murderous rampage. There is often claimed to be a direct link between the American sniper incident and videogames, because the target shooting skills of the sniper were developed from videogames, and nothing to do with the comprehensive rifle training he received from the US army. The simple truth is that it takes more than just games to transform ordinary people into murderers.

According to the tabloids we should currently be inundated by hordes of slavering, violence obsessed gamers. However as this plague has yet to develop maybe we should take what they are saying with a pinch of salt. When a game player unglues him (or her) self from the computer monitor and doesn’t find a machine gun lying at their feet, the suspension of disbelief is broken. It takes planning and training to carry out acts like these. Saying that violent games turn people into killers is the same as saying that people exposed to Islam will become terrorists. There is no more violence in most games than there is in movies, or horror books. In fact even the U.S court of appeal wrote, “(the idea that) there is a strong likelihood that minors who play violent videogames will suffer a deleterious effect on their psychological health is simply not supported in record.” In other words, videogames are not the cause of violence.

What this really comes down to is the parents, and the worldview that they impart onto their children. If the parents don’t take the time to talk to their children explain to them right and wrong, then how will the child know what he or she should do? How many parents explain to their child that the game is not real; that in real life you can’t do everything you can in the game? While violence sells it does not educate, and unfortunately in this day and age ‘upbringing by Playstation’ is becoming a more and more common phenomenon as parents’ time constraints get the better of them.

All games have a strict rating system in place, called ESBN. This system is designed to prevent games from falling into the hands of minors, and yet often when a child is refused a game by the management the parent, even after the rating system has been explained to them, buys the game anyway. Parents need to be educated more about what they are buying, instead of buying whatever game the kids ask for; maybe they need to consider what they want their children to be seeing. Would you let a child of 12-14, or even younger, watch hardcore porn or an 18 rated movie? Then maybe you shouldn’t let them play an 18 rated game. The stereotype that games are just for kids is badly out of date, and maybe it’s time parents started to take more responsibility for what their children play on.

In every group there are a few who don’t fit in with the social norm. Is it true that these people can be influenced by violent videogames? No doubt. But is this the root cause of their affliction? No. Books, movies, rough and tumble play; all of these blend reality and fiction. What people need to accept is that they must take responsibility for their own actions, and that maybe societies ills are rooted in larger problems than a small animated character shooting another small animated character.

What is Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy?

The prophecy in Daniel 9: 24-27 reads:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Daniel had been earnestly praying for his people, the Jews, who were in captivity in Babylon when he was given this vision.

It is the most amazing and accurate prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. The timeline begins in 457 BC with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple. Ezra 7:8-17 shows that the decree went out in the seventh year of the reign of Artzxerxes, so history can confirm the year.

In Bible prophecy they work on the day for a year system, Ezekiel 4:6 “…I have appointed thee each day for a year” so therefore 70 weeks, 490 days is 490 years.

This prophecy is split into three sections. Seven weeks (49 years, which is the time it took to rebuild the temple), 62 weeks (434 years) till Messiah the Prince. This takes us to the year the year AD27, which is the year that Jesus was “anointed” and began His ministry, and finally there is another week, 7 years.

It says that in the midst of the final seven years the Messiah will be “cut off, but not for himself” (showing that Jesus would die after 3 1/2 years of ministry) and would cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease”. Jesus’ one time perfect sacrifice on Calvary put an end to the need for animal sacrifices once and for all.

What happened in the final 3 1/2 years of this prophecy? The gospel message was still preached exclusively to the Jews, but at the end of this period, Stephen was stoned, marking the final decision of the Jewish leaders to reject Christ as the Messiah and from this time on the gospel was taken to the gentiles.

This prophecy also predicted the destruction of the temple “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” which occurred in AD70, and signified the final “desolation”. The destruction of both the first and the second temple were both as a result of the people’s rejection and disobedience to God.

This event signified that the sacred appointment of the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones was forever annulled. Through Christ a new covenant was made, that all who followed Him would be called the children of God and seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

What a wonderful display of the power of God these prophecies are. To foretell almost 600 years ahead of time, when He would send His son to this world to die for our sins. How Jesus would “confirm the covenant” and cease the need for performing the sacrifices that had been put in place as a shadow of the fulfilling work of our Lord.

The Unique Writing of Daniel Quinn

A trip to the local bookstore or online book seller can be a daunting task. As soon as you walk into your bookstore you see racks upon racks of the most popular books at the time. You may see authors such as Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephen King, and others. While all of these authors are popular for a reason and write a great story, what if you want to read something a little bit different? What if the usual fictional story filled with murder, mystery, and the usual thrilling plot just is not for you? Well, there is an author named Daniel Quinn who may not be the most recognized author, but deserves much more attention and readers for his unique ideas.

If you think about writers such as Dan Brown or John Grisham, their books are straight forward and predictable. There is usually a murder or two, a mystery which slowly unravels as the chapters pass by, characters that the reader despises and characters that the reader tends to root for. Daniel Quinn’s writing is nothing like this. His writing is completely unique and refreshing. He does not simply give you a story to read through at your own leisure, he gives you a though-provoking tale which will make you think about the world in different ways. His stories are told from a fictional point of view, but there is underlying nonfiction throughout each of his books.

Quinn’s most notable books are Ishmael and its sequel My Ishmael. These books are told from the point of view of a young man who is naïve to the workings and history of the world. He encounters a gorilla named Ishmael who teaches him to see the world in a new way. Basically, Ishmael teaches the man through several talks and one-on-one sessions that humans are not the light of the world and that evolution is an ongoing process. The human species may be the most advanced species on planet Earth, but we have evolved from primates, and we will keep evolving in this process into something else. It is an idea that most people do not think about, but very interesting: One day, the future advanced species may look back onto their evolution charts and see that our present day humans were just one step in a long line of evolving species. While humans are a great species and very intelligent, there will one day be an even better human species.

As you can tell from reading the last paragraph, Quinn’s writing is not for everyone. Daniel Quinn tends to side with Darwinism and strays from religious view points such as Christianity. Much of his writing parallels evolution and the idea that all organisms evolve from other organisms. In one of his other books, The Story of B, he goes after religion directly and dismantles many beliefs of modern day religion. Quinn points out discontinuities and topics that do not make sense and through a fictional story about a religious oddball simply named “B”. This man has created a large following by his unique religious teachings and causes many of those around him to think twice about their own religion and consider B’s religion as their own.

If you are looking for a unique reading which combines fiction, nonfiction, and philosophical ideas that will blow your mind, read some of Daniel Quinn’s writing. If you are very religious, anti-Darwin, or simply do not like to entertain wild, new ideas, his writing is not for you. Either way, it would not hurt to open your mind to a unique style of writing which will make you at least consider different views on humanity and the world. Daniel Quinn’s books Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B are all rated 5 out of 5 and definitely deserve a read.

Another 5 Movies You Think Would Be Better Than They Are

Here are another five movies you think would be really better than they are, unfortunately for the films, the scripts, the direction, and the actors, they are not.

Gods and Generals – 1 Star (Terrible)

This so-called historical epic finds Director-Producer Ron Maxwell taking 3 hours and 49 minutes (yes, you read correctly) to re-tell the story of the Civil War from its beginning in 1861 through the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Yikes.

Ted Turner wanted this film done real bad, he coughed up the entire $60 million budget to make it happen. Hopefully, he did not fall asleep watching the result of his investment. As near as I can tell, this effort earned virtually no recognition or accolades, and rightfully so.

The Netflix postscript tells us that the film is about Confederate General Robert E. Lee (played by Robert Duvall) and Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), a Bowdoin College professor from Maine who becomes the central character representing the Federal (Union) troops.

This movie is really the story of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (Stephen Lang); whoever wrote the Netflix postscript apparently did not see the movie. This movie attempts to show the human side of the tragic Civil War in our country, and suffers from the lack of a narrator for the battle footage which goes on forever without great consequence.

Showing the battle scenes does not do squat for this film; having a narrator is the only way to explain the action so it makes sense to the first-time viewer. I really think Maxwell (the director/producer) was more impressed with his own effort than the subject matter.

If Maxwell wants to see a good presentation of the subject matter, he should watch Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War (I suspect he did and decided to make it into a movie, ’nuff said. He just did not make a very good movie).

Mr. and Mrs. Smith – 1 Star (Terrible)

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (who would later be joined at the hip) are guns for hire who find their next target is each other in this sorry flick. This is a sad, disappointing movie with no redeeming qualities worth talking about.

The story line is slow to develop, it has sound problems, it suffers from action flickitis (continual killing, mayhem and explosions), and comes across as sophomoric, juvenile and simply bad to the core.

The chaotic shooting scenes are reminiscent of the early cowboy flicks where both the good guys and the bad guys are systematically firing off 200 rounds from their revolvers without reloading. Good grief, if you are going to make a movie with two superstars of this caliber, bring something to the table.

Actually, this filmmaking effort was so poorly done it could not have been saved even with two superstars like Pitt and Jolie.

Just Like Heaven – 1 Star (Terrible)

Just Like Heaven is cute but not substantive. This movie effort takes off on the concept of Ghost in the reverse; instead of a dead person who can see the living but cannot be seen by the living, here we have a dead person who can also see the living, but the living can also see the dead person.

It just does not work like Ghost. Ghost is 1,000 times better than this effort. Ghost works because it is a drama and courts reality. Just Like Heaven does not work because it is a romantic comedy and has nothing to do with reality (just a minor point).

There are several more reasons why Ghost works, and Just Like Heaven does not (too many to mention in detail here). This effort entertains but lacks substance, and hence believability.

The best part of this movie is Reese Witherspoon (who would go on to win an Oscar for her lead role in the Johnny Cash story, Walk the Line). I would not see Just Like Heaven again, even with a monetary incentive.

Miracle – 1 Star (Terrible)

Miracle is the story of the U. S. Hockey Team that won the Gold Medal during the 1980 Olympic Games at Lake Placid in New York.

A potentially great story line that had a poor script and poor direction. I doubt whether the writer or director of Miracle has ever played competitive hockey. There was only one really good moment in the movie that should have had 30 great moments, and kept you on the edge of your seat, even though you already know the ending of the film.

I was so disappointed in the artistic effort of this movie, I consider it a petty crime to make a movie of the stunning, historic 1980 Olympic Games United States gold-medal performance with the script they had to work with.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – 1 Star (Terrible)

This romantic comedy stars Kate Hudson. Of course, she does not follow through on losing the guy in 10 days, she finds him, he finds her, and he makes it happen for both of them. Forget the script, the acting and the directing. OK to see it once.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

Do You Have What It Takes to Be A Successful Author?

Being an author is no job for wimps. It takes a lot more than glamorously writing books in Paris cafes surrounded by admirers. It takes long solitary hours of writing-what John Steinbeck called “the loneliest job in the world.” And it takes a willingness to promote your book, no matter what the cost.

Authors have to deal with the public-not just admiring fans, but indifferent readers, and those who want to string them up by a rope when a typo is found in a book. Authors have to work long hours both writing and marketing, often with little reward. And authors have to sacrifice their free time and sometimes make difficult decisions such as using that money saved for a new car instead to print the next book. And yes, when someone tells you how he loves your book, it can be all worthwhile, but a lot of work is required before you may receive that compliment.

Before you publish that book, you may want to find out whether you have what it takes to be a successful author. It’s a lot like being Superwoman or Hercules while having the patience of Job. Find out whether you have what it takes by taking this short quiz:

The Successful Author Quiz:

You are invited to speak at an event on Saturday that is a three-hour drive from home, both ways, for which you will not get paid and there is no guarantee you’ll sell any books. Do you:

a. Instantly say, “Yes!” and feel elated that someone wants to hear you speak. (2 pts)
b. Tell the event planner you can’t come unless you are paid for the mileage. (1 pt)
c. Say, “No, sorry. Saturday is family time.” (0 pts)

A reader points out to you the typo on p. 38 of your book. Do you:

a. Realize no one is perfect, but fix it for the next printing. (2 pts)
b. Tell the person, “I’d like to see you do better.” (1 pt)
c. Go home and cry. (0 pts)

The local bookstore wants 60 copies of your book delivered before it closes in two hours, all autographed, and they want a 40% discount payable on consignment (after the books sell). Do you:

a. Say, “No problem,” drop everything else, print up an invoice, sign those books, load your car, and make a delivery within the hour. (2 pts)
b. Say, “Sorry. I can’t make it today but I’ll be there tomorrow, and my price discount is 30% and I need to be paid up front.” (1 pt)
c. Reply, “Are you crazy? Do you realize how much work that is and how heavy those books are-I’ll bring you five and when you sell those, then I’ll bring you more.” (0 pts)

You are inundated with requests from people who say they are also writing a book and want to meet you for lunch. Do you respond by:

a. Saying, “I’m sorry but I don’t like to talk about my writing or share my publishing secrets-and it cuts into my writing time.” (0 pts)
b. Give out free information in the hopes other people will be interested in reading your book even though they are actually only interested in their own. (1 pt)
c. Refer people to a local publishing or writing group where they can learn everything necessary and which you belong to, while politely explaining you’re just too busy right now to meet. (2 pts)

You are invited to an event where the event planner assures you you’ll sell 100 books and insists you bring that many with you. Do you:

a. Refuse to come. (0 pts)
b. Bring only one box of 20 books with you because you know you’ll never sell 100 (1pt).
c. Buy a dolly to reduce how many trips you need to make to carry that many books back and forth from the car and hope for the best. (2 pts).

You are at an event where a customer complains that your books are too expensive. Do you:

a. Say, “Sorry, ma’am. It’s not my fault you’re poverty-stricken.” (0 pts)
b. Patiently explain about the costs of printing and profit margins on books. (1pt)
c. Tell her you’ll make her a deal and if she buys two books, you’ll give her a free one. (2 pts)

You’ve successfully sold over a thousand copies of your self-published book and are invited to a local event where an author newly published by a small press is also appearing. This author tells you if you are interested in becoming a “real” author, she can hook you up with her agent so you can sell more books and get royalties. Do you:

a. Jump at the chance to become a “real author,” kiss her butt, and contact her agent. (0 pts)
b. Explain that you are a real author and that you make more money off of self-publishing your books than you would traditionally publishing them. (1pt)
c. Thank the pompous author for the offer and avoid her in the future. (2pts)

You are asked to speak to a group of schoolchildren about being an author even though you have not written a children’s book. Do you:

a. Say, “No, I’m not a children’s author.” (0 pts)
b. Show up and give your usual talk about writing and put the children to sleep. (1 pt)
c. Spend hours planning and thinking up ways to engage the children in writing activities and entertain them so they are interested, then come home exhausted but hoping you made a small difference in the children’s education. (2 pts)

You have written a historical novel set in your hometown. A reader asks you which house the fictional people in your novel lived in. Do you:

a. Say, “What are you stupid that you don’t know the difference between fiction and non-fiction?” (0 pts)
b. Explain that the characters are fictional but the fictional house is based on a real house in town. (1 pt)
c. Take it as a compliment that your characters seem like real people to your readers. (2 pts)

You are inundated with requests from other authors to read and edit their books. Do you:

a. Say, “Sorry. I have a day job and like to write my own books in the evening. I don’t have time.” (0 pts)
b. Form a writing group with the few authors you think are serious so you can exchange manuscripts and give each other feedback. (1 pt)
c. Agree to help in exchange for payment and spend your evenings working on other people’s books until you have enough clients to leave your day job and make it your full-time business to be an author expert and help others, thereby selling more of your own books as well. (2 pts)


18-20 points: Congratulations! You have the makings of the next Stephen King, Danielle Steel, or John Grisham! I’ll see you on the New York Times Bestseller list…maybe. Well, at least you should make a profit someday.
10-17 points: You might become fairly successful, if you consider success as selling 500-5,000 books over your lifetime. Keep at it.
10-0 points: Keep your day job. There are real authors out there.

The Compromise of 1850

With the addition of territories ceded by Mexico after the war between it and the US, The Missouri Compromise (of 1820), the prevailing federal law, no longer meets the needs of the United States. Henry Clay, the aged senator from Kentucky, chief author of The Missouri Compromise, comes out of retirement, determined to find a solution, to piece together legislation to appease the various sections of the country and preserve the union. His failing health precludes much “hands on” work, but Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, “the little giant,” takes the omnibus bill, which fails to pass, and submits each component individually, achieving passage.

Zachary Taylor, military hero of the Mexican War, particularly his exploits at the Battle of Buena Vista, is elected president on the Whig ticket. When the California Territory applies for statehood as a free state, the 31st, which Taylor endorses, it threatens the balance of fifteen each anti- and pro- slavery states achieved in the Senate. With the discovery of gold at John Sutter’s sawmill along the American River in California in January, 1848, settlers from throughout the country go to the area (one estimate for the city of San Francisco is that it goes from around 6,000 in population to over 24,000 in one year. Another, from early 1848 to late 1849 puts it at 1,000 increasing to 25,000. The actual records were destroyed by fire). As the Whigs learn with William Henry Harrison, the best way to reach voters is with a war hero at the top of the ticket. But like Harrison, Taylor dies in office.

With The Compromise of 1850, the old men in the Congress make their final parliamentary move; a last moment on the stage. John C. Calhoun, infirmed and near death with throat cancer writes an opinion opposing Clay’s bill, but is unable to deliver it himself, instead having someone help him into the Senate chamber to sit while another (Senator James Murray Mason) reads it aloud. A black coat, which he had gathered around his gaunt body, added to the tragedy and solemnity of the sight. Clay goes to the spas in Newport News, Virginia for his ailing health. Daniel Webster, now approaching seventy years of age, is still strong of voice but his gait is somewhat slowed and he gets winded easier.

Never has the federal government been as close to the reality of disunion.

The Wilmot Proviso, proposed by Democratic Congressman (Pennsylvania) David Wilmot, a slavery opponent, in 1846 amends an appropriations bill and is introduced in the House. It provides that any land acquired from the war with Mexico will not be open to slavery. The first Proviso passes the House but is not voted on in the Senate. The second Proviso (1847) passes the House but is removed in the Senate bill.

The Compromise of 1850 contains these major provisions: the Texas boundary dividing it from New Mexico/Mexico would be established; the US would monetarily compensate Texas for any ceded land and any Texas debt would be paid by the United States; the California territory would enter the union as a nonslave holding (free) state; the territories of New Mexico and Utah, land acquired from Mexico, would be divided without respect to slavery; Washington, D.C. would no longer engage in the (continent’s as well as the) country’s largest public slave trade; the last and most controversial aspect is rigid enforcement by the federal government of the Fugitive Slave Act.

In his Seventh of March Speech (March 7, 1850), Daniel Webster greatly enhances the bill’s chance of passage by publicly endorsing the last component. Henry Clay figures, quite rightly, that only an immensely popular New Englander can help attain passage of the whole bill by approving the Fugitive Slave Act. For Webster, it’s political suicide; he expends decade’s worth of political capital with one speech (abolitionists call him, “Traitor”). The South would secede en masse without a provision whereby the northern states guarantee the slaveholder’s rights.

The Compromise of 1850 passes Congress, and with President Taylor’s death, making Millard Fillmore Chief Executive, he being much more open to compromise than was Taylor; the bill is enacted into law with the new President’s signature.

Webster’s Seventh of March Speech, “I wish to speak today not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States” Daniel Webster while receiving plaudits in the rest of the country for its conciliatory tone, costs him much in the way of political support at home, leading to his resignation from the Senate rather than his risking embarrassment at the polls.

In support of his measures, Clay says, on the Senate floor, “I implore, as the best blessing which Heaven can bestow upon me here upon earth, that if the direful and sad event of the dissolution of the union shall happen, I may not survive to behold the sad and heart-rending spectacle.”

Clay and Webster’s measures supply only a temporary fix but they do provide much-needed time. Calhoun more firmly believes the individual states are independent and sovereign, not subject to federal law but Webster’s Senate speech does much to allay states’ righter’s fears.

The Compromise of 1850 accomplishes what it hopes to do (keep the country united) but the solution is only short-term. In the decade following the deaths of the Triumvirate, all occurring around 1850, the North and West combine the necessary men and resources to defeat the South. Alone, the North or West hasn’t the means to subdue the South but in tandem, they are able to accomplish the feat.

The Six Figure Mentors – Who Is Responsible For Your Online Success?

The Six Figure Mentors is an Internet Marketing Mentoring, Training and Educational organization set up by Stuart Ross and Daniel Wagner, both highly successful Internet Marketers in their own right, with the aim of showing that anyone with the right tools, training and support can build their own successful Six Figure Income online.

One important and much discussed element of the Six Figure Mentors Training is access to an online mentor who will work on a one-to-one basis with motivated individuals to help them build their own legitimate income online.

Whilst having access to a Six Figure Mentor may suggest that a Six Figure income is almost guaranteed it is important to understand that mentoring is a two-way process and both parties must understand their individual responsibilities for the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

What are the responsibilities of the Six Figure Mentors?

In my view the answer to this question is simple. My preferred definition of the role of a mentor is an individual who serves as a teacher or trusted counselor. The key words for me here are TRUST, TEACH and COUNSEL.

On this basis it is fairly easy to define the responsibilities of a mentor;

  • Trust – anyone investing in an Internet Marketing Training program, based on the fact that they are led to believe they will get hands-on help, has a right to expect just that. It is important therefore that, when doing their due-diligence in selecting a Six Figure Mentor, they actually speak to the mentor and confirm that the mentor has both the time and inclination to deliver on this promise.
  • Teach – for me, as people learn in different ways, a mentor much be capable of delivering training via both verbal and visual methods. It is never enough to simply provide the text books and say get on with it, everything you need is there. For many people being shown AND told is the best way to learn.
  • Counsel – for many people the Internet provides a hugely exciting opportunity to build their own Six Figure income and sometimes, in their enthusiasm to get to this level, they lose sight of the fact that making money online is a business and requires hard work. A mentor should make this very clear from the beginning, discourage those who don’t want to work hard and support those that do when they encounter difficulties.

What are the responsibilities of the Mentored?

  • A committed member of the Six Figure Mentors can only provide the tools, guidance and support required to deliver online success. The individual being mentored also has responsibility in reaching a successful outcome. Those typically are;
  • They should be prepared to work hard and implement the steps they are being taught.
  • They should commit to some degree of self-education. Not every conceivable situation can be covered in any course and self-education, through simple research, helps any individual to grow and develop both an inquisitive mindset and a can-do attitude.
  • They must proactively ASK THEIR SIX FIGURE MENTOR FOR HELP when they hit a roadblock they can’t overcome.

Ultimately, a relationship where both parties accept their individual responsibilities will result in a successful and mutually enjoyable relationship.

Having a successful relationship, based on the above factors, is the easiest way to learn how to make money online. Going it alone is often the hardest way!