Category Archives: Cheek

Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games

In the spirit of the summer games, I plan to compete in the following events:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!–Surely I can go for the gold in this one.

2. Back Up Your Data!–I have already done C, do I have to go back and do A & B to get the gold medal?

3. Organize Your Research!–I’ve already been working on this. If I can’t reach diamond level I’m going to be disappointed.

4. Write, Write, Write!–I’m not sure how far I can go in this one if I get the others done, but I’ll try at least get a silver medal.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!–I do this on an ongoing basis whenever I can so I won’t formally compete in this category. I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

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Posted by on 8 August 2008 in Cheek


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China Denies Visa to Favorite Son

One of the Cheek family’s finest is in the news again.  Joey Cheek, who captured headlines by winning gold in the Winter Olympics and then donating the prize money to humanitarian causes has been denied a visa to attend the Summer Olympics in China.  Joey has been active in Team Darfur working toward ending the genocide going on in the Sudan.  China has been a supporter of the Sudanese government which is one of its major oil suppliers.  For more information see the stories at

Washington Post

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Posted by on 6 August 2008 in Cheek


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What is so scary about a little girl and a compass?


It has been interesting to hear friends and family on both sides of the current discussion about whether or not The Golden Compass is anti-God, anti-religion, anti-Christian, or perhaps just, taking a clue from something the author actually said, anit-Narnia.  The discussion was made more interesting because none of those talking about it had seen the movie and only half of those talking about it had read any of the books in the series.  My own analysis is that the theme of the books is primarily anti-authoritarian rather than explicitly anti-religion.  That being said, it is clear that the author views various manifestations of religion as the worst kind of authoritarianism. But anyone who can’t accept that premise is ignoring 2000 years of Christian history as well as thousands more years of human history. History is saturated with individuals and groups that were convinced that they had the truth and were therefore obligated to force it on those around them. Christians may not like it,  but historically there are many more examples of the church as abusers of power than of the church explicitly following the teachings of Jesus.

Now that the movie is being released we have even more confusion sorting out what people are really objecting to: the novels? the movie? the comments of the author? As a librarian I have a built-in, deeply-held bias against those who see themselves as self-appointed censors.  I was disturbed but not surprised when the pastor at my church repeated without hesitation many of the distortions of truth that are being circulated in conservative Christian circles.

 An interesting analysis of the books come from Catholic theologian,  Donna Freitas, who writes in the Boston Globe:

These books are deeply theological, and deeply Christian in their theology. The universe of “His Dark Materials” is permeated by a God in love with creation, who watches out for the meekest of all beings — the poor, the marginalized, and the lost. It is a God who yearns to be loved through our respect for the body, the earth, and through our lives in the here and now. This is a rejection of the more classical notion of a detached, transcendent God, but I am a Catholic theologian, and reading this fantasy trilogy enhanced my sense of the divine, of virtue, of the soul, of my faith in God.

The book’s concept of God, in fact, is what makes Pullman’s work so threatening. His trilogy is not filled with attacks on Christianity, but with attacks on authorities who claim access to one true interpretation of a religion. Pullman’s work is filled with the feminist and liberation strands of Catholic theology that have sustained my own faith, and which threaten the power structure of the church. Pullman’s work is not anti-Christian, but anti-orthodox.

 In an era which has recently witnessed film versions of other fantastical worlds, (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter), comparisons are inevitable.  I like the reviewer from the Dallas Morning News who says if Tolkien is like a symphony, Pullman’s work is “more like hip-hop: spiky, violent and angry.” The reviewer goes on to say

. . . here’s what you’ll find in Mr. Pullman’s creation: A transcendent, universal, omniscient intelligence is somehow concerned with the way people live their lives. It takes an active role in human history and seems to want to encourage particular values: loyalty, courage and love. There is something immortal about people that survives physical death and reintegrates with the larger universe. The origin of the universe, and of that cosmic intelligence, is either inexplicable or not explained.  And if you want to believe this all fits together, you’ll have to take some of it on faith.  That isn’t Christianity. But it sure sounds like a religion.

–How does faith fit into film version of ‘The Golden Compass’? By: Weiss, Jeffrey, Dallas Morning News, The (TX), Dec 06, 2007

I can think of a lot more to say, but not much more that would really add anything substantial to the discussion. Just let me end by paraphrasing a review from the Christian Science Monitor–You can boycott and protest all you want, just don’t pretend you are doing it in the name of religion.


Posted by on 8 December 2007 in Cheek


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What’s In A Name?

For those who never read the “About” pages, the title of my blog comes from the Keat’s poem, “Fancy”, not to be confused with the Bobbie Gentry song from the 60s. The context of the line is

Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where’s the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gaz’d at? Where’s the maid
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where’s the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where’s the face
One would meet in every place?
Where’s the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?
The full text of the poem is easy to find.

 John Keats, 1795-1821

John Keats  1795-1821 


Posted by on 29 August 2007 in Cheek, Fancy, John Keats


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