Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Back Home

We're back in Austin safe and sound. Unfortunately, our car got broken into: window smashed and cd player stolen. Ugh.

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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Pre-born Babies, and such

I read this article, linked by Barlow, about a Professor and how one of his lessons saved the life of his future student. In the article it describes the attributes of a three month baby: "tiny fingers, facial features, eyes, outline of a liver and other human features"

Those are the features of our baby right now. I can't wait to be Daddy.

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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Fun Stuff

Forgive the delay. Kristen and I have been spending the holiday in North Carolina. It has been great. I interviewed with a school in Richmond -- wonderful! and a school in Cary -- probably not. The school in Richmond is really serious about their academics and have a great, humble, intelligent staff to get it done. The school in Cary has a different vision for Classical Languages than I (yes, we had "artistic differences" :oP ), so it doesn't look promising.

Also, Kristen and I have become hooked on a computer game, Rise of Nations. This trip has been our first chance to relax and do nothing, so we take turns playing about three hours a day. Needless to say, my mum-in-law thinks Kristen and I are computer game junkees, but it really is our first and only chance to play.

We have been able to see a lot of friends, which has been great. Matt Harper was married on the 20th, so we saw both Carolina folks and Ruston folks. It was a beautiful wedding, though it confirmed to me that I'm more of a liturgical presbyterian than an Anglican: bowing to the wafer was a little much ... plus the black robes are so much cooler than the white linens. Well, not literally cooler, but you know what I mean. We also saw some of Kristen's friends when we went to see Cold Mountain with the in-laws. Also went to see Amber and Sam and their kids (see Honi's blog). Sam was working, but Amber (and her parents) are delightful. Honi was still in VA, so we didn't get to meet her, but I was able to play around with Jake and hold Daniel. It was so much fun holding Daniel. I can't wait until I can hold my own. Oh, and Sam & Amber gave us our first baby gift: unisex sleepers. Very thankful.

My first Christmas with my wife was very delightful, though she has set a high bar for herself. I got a Library Embosser, NT Wright's What Saint Paul Really Said (jumping to the top of my must-read lists). However, lest anyone should charge me with heresy or not being (really, really, really) Reformed: the complete works of B.B. Warfied and Hodge's three volume Systematic Theology. All the books were quickly embossed. When I get home, I'll emboss all my books (and hers), and I'll probably go over to Greg and JT's and emboss all their books -- or at least the ones I want. :oP

This trip has been a lot of fun. We can't wait to return to Austin, but there is also so much I would like to do here. We're returning to Austin on Tuesday around mid-day (*hint*hint* JT) ... and we're probably bringing some Sweet Tea with us!

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Thursday, December 25, 2003

Feast Day

Christmas Day

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Wednesday, December 24, 2003

On Being Pregnant

The past two months have been odd, being pregnant. I feel like pregnancy is now an integral part of my identity. It's rare I have a conversation that does not mention it in some way. And people always make comments if I try to stand in the back of a room or lift something. It's been okay, as pregnancies go. I've been pretty sick. I've lost weight. I gained the superpower of extra-sensory smelling. I don't really feel pregnant, I feel sick. Maybe when I get a belly, that will help. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat about three weeks ago. That was nifty.

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Monday, December 22, 2003

School Applications 'n' Jobs

Saturday, after Matt's wedding, Kristen and I drove up to Richmond, VA for an interview with Veritas Classical Christian School. It went well. I originally typed up a couple of paragraphs on what I liked about it, but I don't want any of you jumping on my lead, ya hear. I have yet to send in an application, but went ahead and met with them (the headmaster, Scott Taylor; and head of faculty, Jonathan O'Brian).

I'm also applying to Cary Christian School. This position would be nice as we would be back in Carolina: near Kristen's family, friends, a solid church, etc... I'll also apply to St. David's in Raleigh, St. Andrew's and St. Stephen's in Austin, also Regents in Austin. However, I've been really impressed with Veritas in Richmond. Tomorrow, I'll chat with Mr. Stephenson at Cary and give any updates.

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We're in North Carolina for the holiday. We've been busy hanging out with friends, attending Matt Harper's wedding and church, and telling everyone in person that we're expecting our first child the first week of July. It's great good fun!

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Sunday, December 21, 2003

Sabbath Reflection

Fourth Sunday in Advent

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Book lists

To answer Natalie's question, I actually have three lists: Mythology, Contemporary Political Theory, and Classical Literature / Philosophy.

Mythology: Finish Silmarillion, Finish Chronicles of Narnia, Barfield's Poetic Diction, Tolkien's short works on Mythology and Fairie Stories.

Contemporary Political Theory: Finish The Shield of Achilles by Philip Bobbit. Warrior Politics by Robert Kaplan. Other books on the demise of the nation-State.

Classical Literature / Philosophy: Starting with the Ancient Greeks: Lombardo's translation of Iliad and Odyssey. Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days. Plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripedes. Some work on the Pre-Socratics. Plato, Aristotle. Herodotus, Thucydides ... etc..

More to come. This is a good start.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Being a teacher is exhausting, mentally and physically. Rewarding, yes, but utterly exhausting. I feel consumed by my desire to see my class succeed, both academically and socially/behaviorally.

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Monday, December 15, 2003

It is Done

I am finished. I finished my last exam on Thursday. I finished my last paper about 10 minutes ago. Phew. I'm done. I've finished my undergraduate. I received a BA in Classics, I'll walk (aka, parental photo-op) in May. Now, bring on the good books.

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

Sabbath Reflection II

Third Sunday in Advent

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Sabbath Reflection I

Savior of the nations, come; Virgin's Son, here make Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth, That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood; by the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh, woman's offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child of the virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned, still to be in heaven enthroned.

From the Father forth He came and returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell, high the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father's only Son, hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be; when shall we its glories see?

Brightly doth Thy manger shine, glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o'ercloud this light; ever be our faith thus bright.

Praise to God the Father sing, Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be ever and eternally.
--Ambrose of Milan

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Best of Austin

I finished my Greek final exam today. In a sick way, it was really great. I really had to place close attention to St. Paul's words. I really enjoyed the experience of having a "sight" passage and pouring over every word.

Anyhow, after the exam I went to The Goodall Wooten Barber Shop, as I had to get a haircut before I went to the Christmas party at the Russel's ... or so my wife tells me. Okay, so it has been about three months, so I deem it worthy to go, and the Wooten is perhaps the greatest barber shop on earth. I sat in the barber's chair, watched We Were Soldiers on DVD, talked with the Barber. He cut my hair short, put some hot shaving cream on my neck and sideburns, took out his straight razor. Then they have a vibrating massager, it's great. Perhaps one of the best things about living in Austin. That and:

Central Market, Run Tex, BlueBell, Tex Mex, and of course Rudy's BBQ ;o)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Sociology of Religion

Back when I posted the Miami Herald article about the upsurge in college students studying religion, someone asked me about the sociology of religion. I took an upper-level/graduate seminar on it with Christian Smith, and that's about the extent of my knowledge. He's pretty renouned and oft-quoted in the media (Like the U.S. News article I linked on Evangelicalism and the Boston Globe article on campus ministries people have been talking about), so perhaps one class with him is enough to get a good grasp on it.

We all know that religion exists in a social context. People worship in groups. They use common symbols and unique language. They organize themselves. There are lots of different aspects to studying religion: historical, theological, antropological, psychological, etc. Sociology of Religion looks at religion different, and concerns itself with different (though sometimes overlapping) questions. Why are humans religious in nature? How do new religions form? Why do people convert? Why do people attend services? What does religion inspire people to do? The questions of sociology of religion, and the way that current scholars answer them, is quite fascinating.

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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I've taken a turn towards feeling better! Hurrah! This is perfect timing, as we were planning on attending a cocktail party tomorrow evening. I have THE PERFECT DRESS and I didn't want to have to miss out on wearing it.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

For Those of You as Bored as I Am

Make a snowflake, just like elementary school, except virtual. Here's one I did.

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Not about Politics, Basketball, or LOTR

So, here's the deal. I'm sick. I've got a bad cold and I lay around. Not much exciting to blog about. I got sent home from school today for being sick. That was sort of exciting. It felt like I was a student instead of a teacher. My students are learning a sung paraphrase of the geneology of Christ to recite in chapel on Friday and I can't get it out of my head. I am behind on cleaning, Christmas Cards, and grading. I made homemade Chicken Noodle soup yesterday with just extra stuff in the house. It tasted good. I am going to blow my nose now.

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Monday, December 08, 2003

RotK in Austin!?

How did I miss hearing about this? It seems that Jackson & Co. (i.e., the writers) were in Austin and premiered Return of the King at the Harry Knowles' fifth annual Butt-Numb-a-Thon. Shesh.

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The New and Improved Hillary Clinton

It appears that Hillary is becoming a hawk. Some good quotes from Safire:
She does not go along with the notion that the Iraqi dictator posed no danger to the U.S.: "I think that Saddam Hussein was certainly a potential threat" who "was seeking weapons of mass destruction, whether or not he actually had them."

When Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" gave her the opening to say she had been misled when she voted for the Senate resolution authorizing war, Senator Clinton countered with a hard line: "There was certainly adequate intelligence without it being gilded and exaggerated by the administration to raise questions about chemical and biological programs and a continuing effort to obtain nuclear power."

On forgotten Afghanistan, like many hawks, she was critical of the failure of European nations "to fulfill the commitment that NATO made to Afghanistan. I don't think we have enough American troops and we certainly don't have the promised NATO troops."

Would she support an increase of U.S. troops in Iraq? Senator Clinton associated herself with the views of Republican Senator John McCain, who disagrees with Bush and the generals who say they have adequate strength there. She cited McCain's conviction that "we need more troops, and we need a different mix of troops." And she directed a puissant message to what some of us consider the told-you-so doves who refuse to deal with today's geopolitical reality: "Whether you agreed or not that we should be in Iraq, failure is not an option."

According to Andrew Sullivan, she's looking good to plot a move on the White House for 2008 ... watch out Elle Woods.

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Now I Must Confess ...

... that even in saying what I just wrote, I am a hypocrite. I say this because if I were a lawmaker, I don't know what I'd say regarding the issue of Marriage in this country. Would I deny marriage to homosexuals, when we grant marriages to those who are remarrying after being illegimately (in the eyes of God) divorced? Should we only limit marriages to blameless heterosexuals and those whose divorces are excused by God. Who decides that last catagory? I suppose, if anyone can and someone should, it must be the place of the Church to do so. Such hard decisions. Even still, I'm a hypocrite.

I sometimes wish that there was an island that was a nation. A nation that was run based on Christian principles. It had a national island Church, governed by people who submitted to God's ways -- not that I necessarily buy into the "follow God's law ... give me two donkeys and a goat for your Taurus", but the moral, ethical principles: those seem less controversial. Oh well, Lord Come Quickly ... it is Advent.

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I Never Expected This From the Catholic Church

According to a Catholic news source judges and lawmakers are blasted a Catholic bishop who blasted lawmakers for making non-Catholic decisions. It seems to revolve around the lawmakers -- not named -- voting records on issues such as stem cell research, abortion, and family planning. Apparently, they are voting at odds with the Catholic church. The Catholic Church doesn't like it when its members are in disobedience, hence the letters.

It seems that Bishop Raymond Burke is allowed to be a religious fellow, even a thinking one to boot, but when he starts reminding Catholics that they are supposed to be Catholics Mon-Sat -- not just on Sunday -- he has crossed the Church/State line.

This is all very telling. It reminds me of an article -- I think written by Rich Lusk at Meshereth, about the privatization of religion. Suddenly Catholic lawmakers feel that they can be Catholics Sunday morning, but not during the rest of the week. Granted, here me out, this nation isn't a Catholic nation, but the Catholic -- as the Christian -- puts himself in a tight position no matter what vocation he chooses in life. If I am a business man, and my company calls me to make a decision that flies in the face of what I profess to believe, I have a tough call to make. Do I do what my company asks of me? or my professed beliefs and alligences to the Church? The same goes to the Catholic lawmaker, such as Sen. Julie Lassa who, "would not let religion dictate how she served her constituents." That's fine, just stop calling yourself a Catholic. You can't be a Catholic on Sunday, but not Mon-Sat. When God and "Politics" (one of our American pantheon) collide, one must win. For the Christian, God must win and you must take the punishment -- even if that means you lose the next election.

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Sunday, December 07, 2003

Sabbath Reflection II

Second Sunday in Advent

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Sabbath Reflection I

Comfort, comfort ye My people, speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning 'neath their sorrow's load;
Speak ye to Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover, and her warfare now is over.

For the herald's voice is crying in the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance, since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet Him, and the hills bow down to greet Him.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon, blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger He will no more see nor heed.
She has suffered many a day, now her griefs have passed away,
God will change her pining sadness into ever springing gladness.

Make ye straight what long was crooked, make the rougher places plain:
Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits His holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord now o'er the earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token that His Word is never broken.

We sang this, one of my favorite Advent Hymns, and Dr. Sinclair Fergueson preached on Psalm 27, which I memorized with my students this fall. It was a lovely Lord's Day service!

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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Return of the King ... again

An new review (BEWARE: SPOILERS) confirms that Jackson stayed true to the ending of Tolkien's book. The reviewer even said that some may claim that it was too long.

In my count, that's good. I was worried that Jackson would try and alter the ending. Perhaps make Frodo die with the Ring at Mt. Doom or something like that. However, it seems that he's going to go the full length with the movie. I'm excited. The DVD will probably be even better!

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Graduation ... then What?

I think I officially "graduted" last night. I still have finals to take, and I'm planning on walking in the Spring, so I didn't think much of it. So, instead of attending the graduation, I watched Pirates of the Carribean with Kristen.

Anyhow, I'm starting the job search now, and figured that I would post something on the ACCS classifieds section. I sent off an email and, expecting that they post it, it'll look something like this:
Michael Stewart seeks a full-time Classics position that could include courses in Greek and Latin as well as Classical History and Literature. He holds a B.A. in Classics from The University of Texas at Austin, and has some experience teaching Latin and Greek. He understands and embraces Classical Christian education. mlstewart@austin.rr.com

Let us hope and pray.

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Friday, December 05, 2003


I really like reading magazines. There are a whole bunch of magazines I'd like subscriptions to. I should have thought of this last month so I could have told my parents when they were asking what I wanted for Christmas. In order by category, here are the magazines I wish I subcribed to.

News and Culture
+ World Magazine
+ Paste
+ Christianity Today

+ Real Simple
+ Cooking Light
+ Budget Living
+ Southern Living
+ Martha Stewart Living

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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope?

An interesting essay entitled, Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope? over at Tech Central Station. When finals are over, I'll read it again when finals are over and see what I think. Until then, I'll leave you with a quote:
In short: if the problem with Islam is that it seems constantly to give rise to sects violently hostile to secular institutions, to reason, and to cultured sentiment; that the countries in which it predominates have a chronic tendency toward theocratic despotism; and that as a religion it exhibits no institutional structure that might finally impose some discipline on the chaotic and lawless spiritual impulses that it generates -- if all that is the problem (which it surely is), then it is absurd to hold that the solution is for Islam to find its Martin Luther. It has already had its Luther, not to mention its Calvin and its Henry VIII, all rolled into one: his name was Muhammad. What Islam needs is a Pope.

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ESV + Apocrypha

If you are like me and waiting patiently for the ESV + Apocrypha to come out before you buy one of those handing leather/compact/pocket-sized versions, I'm afraid we'll be waiting a rather long while. Crossway Books, the American publisher of the ESV, claims on the FAQ of it's website:
Crossway Bibles won't be publishing an edition with the Apocrypha, but HarperCollins UK may. You may want to check with them for more information. As we learn more, we will post it here.

Well, I've been looking at HarperCollins UK and they sent me to Amazon.co.uk ... and it looks hopeless. Maybe in a few years. Shesh.

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Can God Create A Misleading Universe?

Josh is apparently having a wild discussion on his blog about Genesis account and how one should take it. The comments were at 59 when I saw the post which means: far too many to start reading them all. However, I read a few. One poor chap asked why couldn't we take the account literally and another chap answered:
If we believe that Genesis 1 is literally true, then we must also believe that God created a misleading universe--a universe that looks to all inspection like it's billions of years old ... when that isn't actually true.

Some also get into the question of evolution, but I don't see that as necessary. I am curious about this question of God creating a misleading universe. Why this interests me is because I was recently reading Lewis' The Magican's Nephew, and when Aslan creates Narnia, animals and trees and all of creation is created fully grown. Is this not possible? Is God misleading us? I don't think he is. I think we might be misusing the text. Alas, I'll let smarter people figure that out.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Cover Story: Evangelicalism

The latest U.S. News and World Report has a lengthy article on evangelicalism and it's roots with Jonathan Edwards entitled The New Old-Time Religion: Evangelicals defy easy labels.

I am thoroughly convinced every once and a while that I can't possibly be an evangelical at all.

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Bloggin' fo a Dolla'

Okay, Kristen and I are convinced that Wayne is holding his blog hostage. Perhaps giving him money will convince him to blog again. You can send checks to "Wayne O. 'the Wise'" to our place (we won't cash them) and I'll give them to Wayne at school.

If you need our address, just email me ... or something.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

See Link for Return of the King Spoilers

I read a review of ROTK recently that has my hopes up. This reviewer, who saw the Academy Awards preview on Thanksgiving, confirms that there is a return to the Shire and the scene of the Grey Havens. That isn't so much a spoiler as a confirmation that Jackson didn't delete something. For more about the movie, see the link.

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Monday, December 01, 2003

NCAA Men's B-Ball

I've recently started following Men's Basketball because my wife loves it. She is a Carolina girl and loves her Tar Heels. Since our two teams are relatively comparable (i.e., will be in the top 25), it is fun to watch their schedules unfold ... unlike football.

So, I've started tracking their wins, losses, rankings, etc... I also update the rankings of the opponents they will play. Once they play, their rankings will stay the same as it was on game day, but for future games I'll update the rankings. One thing I noticed was that if Men's B-Ball used Strength of Schedule to do their end of year tournament rankings ... UNC would have a high ranking as they have a number of competative folks to go against.

I suppose UT does as well ... as the Big XII is a good conference, but I count ten top-25 teams that UNC will play, as opposed to the 7 for UT. Then again, OSU is on the boarder, as is Texas Tech, which would give another four. This looks to be an interesting season for UT and UNC. Both have good teams ... and hard schedules.

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More Two Towers DVD

Okay, so I stayed home sick today. Well, "stayed" isn't the right word. I went to UT Health (see, guys, what a wife will do to you!?) and they told me to stay home for a day or two. Having a massive headache, I've been mixing sleep with watching various components of the commentaries on the Two Towers DVD.

There is one section where they address the issues of going back-and-forth between the Book and the Movie, and the difficulties that "Tolkien purists" would have. They do a good job of coming across as taking these concerns seriously, and even having these same concerns themselves. After watching it, I really have a greater tolerance for the changes that they made.

One change they made was to Faramir. They came straight out and said that they needed to change him. The actor who played him had never read the book. However, when he got through the script and into the movie, he decided to finally read the books. He then discovered that what he was reading and what he was doing on film didn't match up, and he brought it to the attention of the writers. They apparently decided that Faramir's character needed to go on a journey in the Movie, and that is how they have him set up. In the books, he is the same Day One as he is in the end. They simply couldn't have this in the movie. They had a plot line showing the effects of the Ring on the various characters (e.g., Frodo, Bilbo, Gollum, etc..) they couldn't have randomly had this character for whom the Ring had no effect -- remember that Tom Bomb. isn't in the film at all!

One change they were going to make is having Arwen fighting with Aragorn at Helm's Deep. They discussed their motives when originally writing it. Namely, telling the story how Tolkien told it wouldn't have sold well with the studio execs. The DVD actually has scenes of Arwen fighting (in rough cut) at Helm's Deep. One beautiful, true-truth line by Liv Tyler, who was releaved to have this storyline changed: "What we came to realize is that you don't have to put a sword in her hand to make her strong."

I wish more women thought this way -- or perhaps, that Men allowed women to think and act this way.

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Return of the King

I've been watching some of the extras on the Two Towers DVD, namely the detailed explaination of the editing process. In this segment, they showed the rough scene of the "return to Isengard" where Gandalf & Co. see the wreckage. It was, according to the interviews on the DVD, supposed to be at the end of the TT, but viewers found a seven minute dialogue after a huge battle anticlamactic, so it will be the opening scene to RotK.

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Lilypie Baby Days

This Classical Life is a website designed and operated by Michael and Kristen. We'd like to thank HostPC, who graciously accepts our money in return for hosting our domain; Blogger, who allows us to make comments and have fun, all the while they get rich soaking up the money they received from Google -- Big Brother's best friend; Jon Barlow, the created of Sensus Plenior, the best darn commenting software around -- believe us, we checked!

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