trampling out the vintage

I forgot to say that I finished The Grapes of Wrath and found that (to me) the storyline itself was not all that compelling. As a written work, however, it is very moving. Steinbeck is a tremendous author who knows exactly how to craft words so that they convey his emotions to the reader. What I liked most about it were the chapters that were not devoted to the plot, but to his musings on the entire situation of the refugees. I did not feel that it made socialism something to be desired; I just came away knowing that capitalism is an ugly beast when it runs amuck. So basically, if everyone had followed Catholic ethics, the problem would not have been so problematic. Unfortunately, there aren't as many people willing to follow Catholic social teaching as you might hope, so they turn instead to the government. Which should ring a few alarm bells on principle (I'm thinking that you don't want the people who brought you the DMV to taking care of anything you care about) but also seems to be a fairly evident means of slowly sapping the will of man to provide for himself. Private charity, taken when needed, is another matter. When you get down to the local level, where you know the people in question, then you can help them. Why would you want a group of people thousands of miles away deciding what your family gets and when they get it? It's common sense. But then, common sense is hardly ever anybody's strong suit.


one of those things

In Europe and America,
Theres a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer's deadly toy?
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
Its a lie that we dont believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says he will protect you
I dont subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you,
Is that the Russians love their children too

I love this song for two reasons. For one thing, the music itself is so haunting and compelling that I think of it almost as an audial rendition of Chambers' masterpiece Witness. Secondly, it's all quite wrong! The lyrics are as misguided as they are poetic. It serves as something of a reminder of the seeming permanence of the Soviet Union, and the impossibility of ever ending a Cold War. The truth is that the fall of communism as a world wide threat was nothing short of a miracle. and that's what this song makes me remember.

Plus, I love Sting's voice.


My life is just so hard

It was a long and tiring day. Catherine's feet hurt, she was feeling a little emotional after listening to some old choir music (almost twenty year old choir stuff) and her feet hurt. What with knowing she had to get up for work tomorrow and not being terribly excited about that, she was pretty happy to see that a new National Review had come in the mail. "I know", she thought. "I will listen to my new Coldplay cd and read Mark Steyn's piece. That'll pick me up." Imagine then her distress when she opened up the magazine to the last page and Happy Warrior column. Not on the last page, or the page before that, or any page. Why? Because Canada has reached that point where common sense has fled the metropolises and lesser burghs of that country and is hiding no one knows where. The powers that be in the great white north have become enamored of nonsense in the form of tolerating everything except the people who don't tolerate everything. Those particular people must needs be stifled. Mark Steyn wrote a book implying that Muslims have more children on average than most non Muslim Westerners. Oddly enough, that happens to be true, but Canada is apparently so desperately afraid of Islamic malcontent that they hauled Steyn (basically the love of my life) out of New Hampshire, where you can say what you think, to his home base, where you can only say what the State thinks. Bear in mind that this is the country where a Catholic priest could be (and has been) arrested for preaching the Church's position on homosexuality from the pulpit of his parish. Obviously the situation in Canada is an unpromising one for Canadians, but it's also incredibly inconvenient for Americans. All those subscribers to National Review wanted to read Mark Steyn, but no. He's on trial for straying from the official government line.

The Swell Season

So, this is rather late in coming, but I seem to have fallen pray to an irresistible urge to put up as much info and pictures from this concert as possible. Criticism seems to abound on his blog (ahem...Catherine) about Once. I would just like to point out that the two musicians in it, Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard, are very talented and that their music is unique and beautiful. I had the privilege of attending their latest concert, and it was phenomenal. It somehow held all the charm and fun of an Irish gig, while filling the Keller, which was packed to the rafters, with the full sound of a classical performance.


Time for something else

I am reconciled to The Happening. Now you must guess which books these first lines come from. 1. In undertaking to describe the recent and strange incidents in our town, till lately wrapped in uneventful obscurity, I find myself forced in absence of literary skill to begin my story rather far back, that is to say, with certain biographical details concerning that talented and highly esteemed gentleman, *name*. 2. Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. 3. At five o'clock that morning reveille was sounded as usual, by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging up near the staff quarters. 4. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother *name* had his arm badly broken at the elbow. 5. In 1937, I began, like Lazarus, the impossible return.


What Happened?

M. Night Shyamalan's latest offering has confused me. While I retain some remnant of belief that this must be a good film because of the guy who made it, the fact remains that I have never been more horrified by a movie in my life.

There were things I liked about it, of course. Mark Wahlberg's character was great, and the husband/wife relationship was fabulous. As in most Shyamalan films, the portrayal of ordinary people was touching and rang very true.

However, the violence in this movie was of a sort that I found nauseatingly reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth. There was that same cruel calmness in it, although in this case I might be persuaded that there was a point to it. The levels of sheer violence were much higher. And when it ended, I was more shaken than I've ever been at the end of any movie, including such emotionally disturbing examples as Hotel Rwanda, Beyond the Gates, Schindler's List, and The Killing Fields.

I'm thinking I need a certain brother in law to watch it. Too bad Lander won't get it in for several more months...


Educate Yourself

In ancient Greece, as well as in some modern countries, a bridegroom received some gift or dowry--money, cattle, or other property--along with his bride, usually from her parents. This dowry then became his, to dispose of as he might wish. but the bride might also bring with her certain personal property , such as slaves or jewels, for example. These, under Greek law, her husband could not touch. They were distinctly her own possessions, and were known as parapherna from para, beyond, and phero, bring, that is, belongings brought beyond those specified in the marriage contract. In present day legal usage the Latinized term, paraphernalia, carries the same general interpretation, varying somewhat in our different States. the tern is also used more broadly to designate any sort of miscellaneous equipment possessed by any individual or group. There. That's the origins of the word paraphernalia. I'm a firm believer in "you learn something new every day".


I'm ill equipped to write movie reviews. I watch a film, I like or dislike it, and most of the time I have a really hard time explaining why.
Kind of like when I saw Juno; I came out of the theatre with a sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, but I never was able to put those feelings into words.
Here are my words for The Incredible Hulk.
Man alive, that movie was good.



Well, my big plan was to fix up the blog to my specifications and then start posting again. But it seems my inability to handle technology has come back to haunt me yet again. As long as I never look at the actual blog, I think I can overcome the onslaught of writer's blog...I mean block. These days I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath; I was reading Witness, but then it fell onto the floor of the Water Demon and drowned. Saddest day of my young life. Steinbeck isn't the ideal replacement for Chambers. However, it has turned out to be incredibly powerful, thus reminding one of Witness. More on that later. I'm also watching MacGyver, which, while having cringe worthy dialogue/plot ideas, nevertheless has Richard Dean Anderson. As far as I'm concerned, that's a reason to watch anything. Why is it that the DOT, after taking your tax money and using it to create horrific constructions in your neighborhood, feels the need to put up enormous signs telling you that it's "your nickel" at work? It's always bothered me that they had to add insult to injury.