Mom’s Night Out (Movie Review, PG)

There are things I review on my blog that I think everyone will love and then there are things I post here that I think some people will love…this one is for the some people, not everybody. (It has a 5.4/10 on IMDb but only 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.)

Mom's Night Our

I love slapstick comedy (think Home Alone, Baby’s Day Out, etc.) but there is very little of it being produced these days (if you are aware of some good ones I should be watching – let me know!). Mom’s Night Out falls into this category. I laughed so hard I almost cried. Sheila, my mom, and two of my sisters (Faith and Mary) were all watching it with me, I don’t think any of them enjoyed it quite as much as I did…though they may have enjoyed it more because of my near-tears laughing antics.

Mom’s Night Out is a Christian movie in the sense that it was made by Christians, but it is not a Christian movie in the sense of proselytizing. This film is funny and heart-warming and its take-away is a bit over-the-top, but hey, don’t most comedies have one of these at the end anyways?

Okay, now on to some geeky stuff I like to share and probably nobody reads… 🙂

Actors

I always like to see who they were able to line up for a movie and what they were in before…this film has some fairly well-known talent including Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, and David Hunt.

There are also several significant actors from the Christian film industry – which are likely known by those who watch these films and not by the larger world. These include: Andrea Logan White, Alex Kendrick, Jason Burkey, and Kevin Downes.

Conspiracies, Mysteries, Secret Societies – Ohh My!

As a child I somehow acquired several books along the lines of Reader’s Digest’s Unsolved Mysteries of the Past and I always loved these sorts of books – learning about all the things that we can’t quite explain or understand. More recently I read (and reviewed) Man, Myth, & Magic (Vol. 1).

mystery box

More recently I picked up Brad and Sherry Steiger’s Conspiracies and Secret Societies. This volume was an enjoyable read, unfortunately, it lacked the more detailed methodology I prefer when reading these sort of books.

Namely, there is a bibliography at the end of the work but no notes on which articles utilized which bibliographic resources – and the bibliographic resources are quite varied in quality. Additionally, while the Steiger’s indicate they are taking a neutral voice, they oftentimes state things as if they were true and it is unclear whether they are pronouncing known facts or simply explaining the position of those who believe in x conspiracy.

All said, I can’t recommend the book as a reliable reference work, but it does provide a nifty jumping off point to learn about various conspiracies. Just keep in mind that what you read may be fanciful imaginings.

What I really wanted to share in this post is my list of interesting topics from the work – the things I’ve found interesting or would like to research further in the future (this is something I do recreationally). The reasons I am interested in various topics varies just as much as the topics – sometimes I think the idea is plausible while at other times I find the idea so implausible I want to know more about those who dreamed up such and such. Others seem far-fetched but are interesting enough for further exploration…

Topic Note
AIDS/HIV Origins of the disease.
Airship of 1897 What was it? Mass delusion?
Alchemy Predecessor to chemistry, attempted to turn base metals into gold.
Alien Abductions
Al-Qaeda Origins, relationships.
Alternative 3 Was there a 1960’s secret space program that sent a group of our brightest to colonize the moon?
American Protective Association Tried to keep Roman Catholics out of political office.
Anarchists On the Steiners’ list: William Godwin, Max Stirner, Henry David Thoreau, Mother Jones, Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Nicola Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Noam Chomsky.
Anthrosophy Founded by Rudolf Steiner.
Apocalyptic Millennialism Variety and history of beliefs about the end times.
Army of God Anti-Abortionist Terrorists.
Aum Shinrikyo Means “Supreme Truth” – a relatively recent (1987) cult responsible for terrorism in Japan.
B-25 Ghost Bomber Where did this bomber disappear to after crashing into a river?
Dr. Fred Bell Died after being on Jesse Ventura’s conspiracy show, invented the “X-1 Healing Machine”, etc.

Okay that is enough for one day…I’ll add some more of the topics I found interesting another time.

Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ

I’m a little behind on posting this review – it was on March 6th that Sheila and I went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey but I trust that my memory is not becoming so feeble that I cannot recall some of the details of the experience to share with you today.

I hadn’t been in an aquarium in years – my memories of aquariums came from childhood and perhaps once or twice during my teenage years – and, honestly, were pretty boring.

I was excited to see that they currently had a Dinosaurs of the Deep exhibit as I have always had a fascination with sea monsters. They even had a 4D experience, unfortunately we came soon after a snow storm had blown through and apparently the experience was being streamed from somewhere and the receiver had been knocked out of alignment, so that was a bust – which was a real bummer. I’m sure it is back up and running now, if you happen to go and see it, I’d love to hear how it was!

Dunkleostus

There were a bunch of static dinosaur exhibits (large models of the dinosaurs) and these were interesting to look at for a moment or two.

My favorite part of the aquarium was the Stingray Beach Club. They had a pool filled with stingrays and they would swim around and circles and you could pet them as they went past. I found one in particular – a greenish yellow one (yeah, not the usual colors) – that seemed to really enjoy being petted. While all the others seemed to keep pretty constant in their circular motion around this large pool, this one would turn around and come back again, and again, and again.

Photo of a Stingray

There was a large tank with many sea creatures in it including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles – we stayed and looked at these guys for quite a while. You know, hammerhead sharks look really funny up close! And sea turtles are so gigantic and majestic!

Photo of Hammerhead Shark

Unfortunately, because of the snow, Penguin Island was closed, so we were unable to visit that portion of the Aquarium either. They also have a Touch-A-Shark section but they were touring some other sort of amphibious creature at the time (which I cannot recall but did not find nearly as interesting as petting a shark).

They had a whole section specifically dedicated to shark that was pretty cool and you could walk through a glass tunnel that went through the water the sharks were in (so there were sharks swimming all around you).

They also had hippos which were pretty interesting, but only if you came at specific times. Most of the day they just soak in the mud, at specific times though they get up and walk around (probably b/c they’ve been trained that they will get food at those times).

Photo of a Hippo

Other cool animals we saw included Eels, the Arapaima (aka pirarucu), Pacific Sea Nettles, Spotted Lagoon Jellies, Giant Pacific Octopus, and Poison Dart Frogs.

There are a number of other exhibits that include turtles, frogs, and a variety of fish.

Overall, for someone who didn’t particularly enjoy aquariums in the past, it was an enjoyable experience (and I look forward to going to more aquariums in the future). If you are like me and tend to get bored quickly, a two or three hour walk-through of the place should suffice.

If you can’t make it down there, the Adventure Aquarium’s website is a pretty cool place to explore.

[These images are modified snippets taken from the Adventure Aquarium website]