Coraline Movie

The animated Coraline movie is coming out soon. It's being developed in Portland at Laika Studios by the guy who did James and the Giant Peach. So that's a mark in its favor already. It looks like a great adaption of one of my favorite kids' books ever. Here's a clip: If you can't load the movie in this window, then go to this link.


Sweet 16-0


Beyond the Gates

After seeing Hotel Rwanda I was pretty sure I didn't need or want to see another movie about Rwanda. Hotel Rwanda was hard enough to watch and, I felt, informative for people who like the UN.
We got Beyond the Gates from Netflix and I was fairly determined not to watch it; then my shallowness struck when I realized that Hugh Dancy was in it and I decided what the heck.

If it was harder to watch than Hotel Rwanda, it was also more thought provoking. It told the truly heroic story of a modern Catholic priest that I had never heard of, which is reason enough to see it. It also was about one hundred times harsher on the UN than Hotel Rwanda was, which is another huge mark in its favor. I don't think I want to see it again, but I would highly recommend it.


ginger men

Yesterday the ancient practice of decorating gingerbread men in as strange a fashion as possible was carried on, possibly for the last time. Mom isn't as into original characters as her children. So this year we had Al Gore, Julius Rosenberg, Rambo, Elton John, Red Shirt Guy From Star Trek, Man Who Was In An Accident, Hairy Man, Cardinal Wolsey, among others. I was going to recreate the Italian Olympic swimmer I made about eight years ago, but forgot.


college quest part III

Then I went to TAC.

That chapel's looking less like a chapel and more like a cathedral all the time. But was lots of fun to mess about with Stephen and his crew and see Fr. Paul and take walks around the campus. Which is pretty awesome if you're into Spanish mission style stuff. As far as the classes went....well. I went to toooooo many. Their plan is to make you hop from class to class so you can see as much as you can. As luck or fate would have it, I went from dud to dud to dud. Meaning that before I came, I thought of seminar method as this lively debate, spirited conversation, enraged passion, tearing of hair and rending of garments, and I thought that even if it was annoying that the tutor won't let you know what's going on, at least it's entertaining.

But no. Tutor asks question. Students look at the ceiling, at each other, at the floor, at their brave soul ventures a response. Most others nod in faint support, perhaps one other dares to contradict in a voice that carries as much conviction as an invalid on his deathbed. I thought to myself, I've been had! But then after every single class, students come up to me and say, so sorry you came to this one, it was the worst we've had all year.

Well, if nothing else, TAC's showers take the cake.


The Power and the Glory

I don't exactly know why these words resound in my head when I thik of Notre Dame. Maybe because I meant to bring that particular work of Graham Greene's on the trip. (Forgot it, unfortunately). But I can think of no more fitting title for a post about a university so unparalleled in its Catholic tradition and grandeur.

The feeling this place evokes awakens as soon as you step on campus. It doesn't originate in the traditional tips of the fingers or toes. It starts in the heart, a deep and warm glow that envelopes the entire experience. Not often can you walk across a place and know that every one you pass by feels as you do, and the students are possesed of a passionate loyalty unlike most collegiate emotions. I believe that its mystique arises not so much from the stunning architecture and grounds as from the fact that, whatever negative publicity it has received, it is and will always be specially loved and blessed by God and His mother.

There are a lot of memories for just three days. The surreal: staring at the Golden Dome, or the steeple, or the Grotto at night, or out the old wooden windows of the classrooms, and thinking every time, "Hey! I'm at Notre Dame!" The thrills: going to a class taught by Alistair Macintyre, going to the Navy v. Notre Dame game (which really is a post unto itself). Fun times (watching Hairspray, watching New England beat Indianapolis) and hilarious times (discovering that the Alma Mater played by bells is horribly creepy at night...discovering that there is not only Touchdown Jesus, but also First Down Moses, Fair Catch Corby, and Draw Play Jesus...some athletes actually can consume an entire bunch bananas in one sitting...).

Put simply, it's huge. Huge campus, number of applicants, number of opportunities, number of choices in the dining hall; huge experience. There is emotional pull toward here that the other colleges in the running lack. I had been trying not to think about it too much because it is unlikely that I would be picked out of 17,000 applications to be accepted. But the game last Saturday against Duke changed something. With it being the last Senior game at home the win was glorious of course. And I was practically screaming when Zbikowski went in at quarterback. It really hit, though, when they played the Alma Mater. Before it's always just been a pretty tune I didn't know the words to. This time there were tears in my eyes and chills down my spine, and I thought "I want this to be home. I don't want to love Notre Dame by extension anymore". Provided I am even accepted, I want to go with all my heart. Which means I have to pray even harder to follow God's will and not my own.


College Quest Part I

Hillsdale was smaller than I imagined, but other than that lived up to all my expectations. I could definitely see myself there, but am unsure that I am supposed to be there. Unlike our other options it actually has merit scholarships which is exciting if I can impress them. It was a beautiful campus, I have to say. With the fall colors everywere, the arboretum was particularly spectacular.
Sports is a bigger deal there than I would have thought, which is attractive to me. There are a couple of rather hideous freshman dorms, but maybe that's for bonding purposes. There are also Greek houses, which is a black mark in some people's books. The cafeteria wasn't terrible, but wasn't really inspiring.
Catholic church is in walking distance, downtown. Dowtown Hillsdale is really picturesque, it would be fun to walk around there.
I don't have any stories except that at a swing dance one guy asked me to dance and danced through three songs straight. Didn't stop when the music did, just kept going. It was quite something. I left.


this and that

Huddle as they might, they still couldn't stop the Pats from scoring FORTY NINE points against them. Yeah.
Last night NBC aired a tiresome little piece on nightly news on Cubans immigrating (in a manner of speaking) to the US. Oddly enough, most of their officious disapproval was directed toward the smugglers who make a fortune out of sneaking Cubans out of Havana into Miami. My only complaint against the smugglers was the rates they charged. But no, the silly little investigative reporter sympathetically made the rounds with the Cuban police, commiserating with him on how difficult it was to stem the flood of people racing to Miami. A moderately intelligent person might why would these people risk anything, money, life, or limb to cross that body of water? What exactly would drive a family to build a boat out of styrofoam in the faint hope of making it to America?
Maybe it's because they like the beaches better in Florida. But judging from the idyllic scenery presented of Cuba, I would guess instead that they're trying to escape the satanic hellhole that Fidel Castro (may God have mercy on his soul) has turned it into. Maybe they don't like being spied on by their neighbors or being told to do it in their turn. Maybe they don't like warrantless search and seizures, arrests, torture of the most savage and inhuman variety, and mass murder.
Just a thought.
Some spokeswoman from the Cuban government got to speak her piece on how damaging and dangerous it is for the US to grant asylum to Cubans who touch US soil. And then we got treated to a sorrowful mother mourning three children who tried to make it to the US and died en route, all because of the enticing immigration policy. (For shame, America!) Well, I hope I wasn't the only American cheering on the Cuban speedboats running away from the Coast guard toward the Miami beach. Even if it was stock footage, I couldn't help screaming, "GO!! GO!!!!!!!!!" and couldn't help feeling that the CG speedboat wasn't going as fast as it possibly could. (I wonder why that could be...)
At any rate, I doubt these desperate victims are fleeing to Miami in search of a football team. ;)


copying Esther's idea

#1. The Patriots blow my mind. They really do. I's to the point where it's a joy to watch them because they are SO IMPOSSIBLY GOOD. It's magic. What's his face from SNF said they are the best team he has EVER seen, and grew up on the '72 Dolphins. #2. The Crofter and the Laird, which I got for my birthday, forgot about, was reminded of, and read is absolutely beautiful. I don't know what I was expecting; some kind of patriotic, anti-England story, I suppose. I didn't realize a simple study of a simple agricultural life could be that engrossing. And was it ever! I hardly put it down after I started, and finished in under 24 hours. As soon as Mom's read it, I'm reading it again. #3. Dancing With the Stars is slightly scandalous most of the time, but I'm addicted to it. And I love the tango. I think it might be the most beautiful dance ever thought of, the waltz notwithstanding. At least when it's done correctly, proper music and attire included. #4. The SAT II American History book I'm studying is vexing me. If you say the 90's aren't important yet because they're too recent, don't spend a page and a half on Clinton. Please. Especially when you only give a little paragraph Ronald Reagan in which you falsely claim Reaganomics caused only a slight economic boom which ended in 1987. #5. It is St. Ignatius of Antioch's feast day and I still think Ignatius Athanasius would be a great boy's name.


Things and stuff

Yesterday, Katie Smillie walked up to me and asked if I had a blog called the morning oil. I said yes, but I do not post on it, Stephen's sister Catharine does. This made me feel guilty. So here is a post. Katie Smillie is probably reading it right now. (Hello Katie! :P)
In recent news, trees are spontaneously collapsing, civil unrest is rising to amusing levels, and I have my dorm addicted to Astro City comic books. All is well. Tomorrow I am 21. I think I will take the day off.


jest a leetle update

Well, the reading population has decided not to comment anymore. Fortunately I am still able to rack my brains for slight inspiration. The Patriots are doing so well I just don't know what to do with myself except do an eaglesbobbleheaddolldance. I did decide that the Patriots needed their own celebraty cheer, so I made one up and will perform it on demand. I have made but negligible progress in the Federalist Papers. I have a sneaking suspicion that Alexander Hamilton actually wrote all of them. I read Wuthering Heights again and liked it marginally better than when I was twelve. But the fact remains that Emily Bronte managed to create about as unlikely a set of characters as was humanly possible. The odds of people really being that irrational, evil, whiny, petulant, nosy, passionate, and mercurial are astronomically remote. However, it is a good book to read if you are angry or upset.


reason number 14 not to steal large amounts of cash

You might be attacked and slain in a shower.

I saw Psycho for the first time this weekend and it made quite an impression. I make it a habit not to watch scary movies because it takes very little to disturb or frighten me...and I did scream out loud not once but twice. Once when the detective goes up the stairs and...well, anyway, and then again when the boyfriend character walks past an open door and Norman is just standing there...I couldn't take it.

But it was so well made and so well scored and such a perfect example of how to scare people. Don't try to gross them out. If you really want to terrify people, don't show them much of anything and let their imaginations take over. Works much better that way.

Fortunately for me, I was preoccupied enough with how cute Anthony Perkins is (was, whatever) that I wasn't as scared as I could have been.

Anyhoo, good movie, fun to watch with people who haven't seen it. I think I should watch more Hitchcock.


my life

At the moment my life consists of many billions of tomatoes and my inability to process The Federalist Papers. I have about fifty essays by Hamilton, Jay, and Madison to read and I picked many thousands of tomatoes this morning because apparently if it rains too much they split open. Stupid plant.


mine eyes have seen the glory...

In a possibly recent article by Peter Kreeft that appeared in Crisis he was enumerating the dangers and evils present in the world crisis and national culture war. After explaining that much of the damage comes from America through Hollywood's influence, he said: "Do you know what the Muslims call us? They call us "The Great Satan". And do you know what I call them? I call them right." Well, Mr. Kreeft, the correct answer would have been more along them lines of "hypocrits" or "morally dubious", but now you force me to call you a liar or a lunatic. America's "The Great Satan" in the present crisis, is she? If you truly believe that kind of diabolically inspired muck, here's some free advice. (The only kind I'm at present authorized to give.) Open your eyes. Look to the north, to the south, the east, the west. Tell me then you don't see evil blooming in the fertile ground of, well, everywhere. In Canada, a priest can be arrested and thrown into jail for preaching the Church's teaching on homosexuality from the pulpit. In Mexico the rich beome fewer and richer and the poor become legion and more desperate than ever, as their government further decays in its rotting nest of corruption. In Europe the only places as empty as the churches are the nurseries, and the only places as full as the bars and brothels are the mosques. In the Middle East terrorism is openly endorsed and encouraged, women are bundled away and killed if they cry out against their husbands for beating them. Little girls are forced into marriage with lecherous old men, men who know only how to destroy plot to kill every last Jew on the face of the earth, and you, poor fool, call America the Great Satan? America is the only country left who is even making an attempt to combat these hooded cowards who make it their practice to kidnap innocent civilians and brutally behead them. Just like America was the only country to make any serious effort to make the Soviet Union a frightening chapter of history. Great Satan? Have you ever read a history of the Soviet Union? Do you recall the mention of mass murder, mass starvation, and mass terror that was daily life there? Have you had the time to glance at North Korea, Cuba, or China and see that the same awful truth holds sway there? They are starving in North Korea, afraid to speak even to friends in Cuba, and if you try to google Tiananmen Square in China, the police will trace your computer and arrest you. America is more influential, sure. She suffers from a terrible rash of moral evils. As a force for good, America is rather like a half blind, half retarded child: blundering into walls, crushing things and sometimes people underfoot, clumsy--but strong. The fact remains, as diseased as our culture is, and as ineffectual as we sometimes are, we are still the most potent force for good of all the nations in the world. The American people are a good people, and even in our bureacratic, bumbling government there are trualy good people. Scoff if you will, fool, but George Bush is a good man. Evil will be always with us, but in my country, I can so something about it. The ban on partial birth abortion should have made that much clear. So instead of taking cues from murdering knaves and making use of puerile thought processes, how about we pay attention to what's in front of our eyes?


Radio Plays

Hey, I'm Nightwing! That's pretty cool. Recently I found a website that produces radio plays. They have two ongoing series: Black Jack Justice, and the Red Panda Adventures. I put them on my mp3 player to listen to while spraying TAC grounds with herbicide. I find them amusing. They're all free to download, so if you're interested, go to Decoder Ring Theatre.


little green dots

The green dots on the back of the quarterback's helmets is too weird. And I have my doubts as regards whether Brian Urlacher is actually human. New England 38, Buffalo 7. But did we expect anything different? I took the DC superhero quiz and found out that I'm the Green Lantern. Thoughts, anyone? I don't even know who that is...


I said "Play on!" you rotten LUNATIC!!!!!

I hate coaches. I really do. What, did you think you're team signed up to play croquet? Did you think that if they trip and fall over themselves I'm supposed call a foul on the opposite team? Or maybe you would like me to card the grass, since it really shouldn't be getting in the way. Or maybe I should should call the player for being stupid and tripping over his own shoe laces. I don't know, what do you think? WHY do you think I have the whistle, you blithering idiot? Because I took the course and studied the rules and was given a badge! Deal with it! Maybe I'll give you a FIFA rule book so you can there actually is no rule against playing physically. There is no personal space in soccer, you pansy! I have the power to card you and drag your sorry self off the field, so don't push it. Because after today, I'm not taking anything anymore. You want to yell at me, I'll yell at you. You don't get to tell me what to do, I get to tell YOU what to do. For all of those who don't watch soccer, look. Players are allowed to lean into another player, they are allowed to slide tackle, and if the goalie comes out to dive on the ball it's not the forward's fault if the goalie gets tapped on the face. IT'S SOCCER, for PETE's SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!! Go join the English Tea Club if you can't take it. Leave, in any case.

Reverse-Temporal Messaging

So me and my roommate Tim perpetrated the most awesome prank ever a few days ago. Roisin Bulger checked her email on Tim's computer and forgot to sign out. So Tim began sending messages to Roisin. From herself. From the future. Roisin is the most gullible person I have ever met or heard of, and she fell for it completely, especially after reading the Wikipedia article on how this is a rather common occurrence. I'd written the article, entitled "reverse-temporal messaging" explaining how 50 or so years from now, Dr. Bulger will invent this process using Tachyon particles, and begin sending messages to her past self. It was my finest hour. The best part was her freaking out so much that she had to sit down, exclaiming, "This is SO freaked out. How did I do this? Dr. Bulger!? I'm not even very good at math!" Stephen and our compatriots played along beautifully too, impressed by her hidden (future) talents in theoretical physics. I'm a very bad man. And no, the Wikipedia article was taken down. :(


do a little dance!

So this afternoon I arrive home from a soccer game (where we left the opposing team exhausted and gloriously defeated) and what do I see waiting for me on the chair in the living room? A manila envelope. Addressed to me. First Class priority. Return Address: very simple. The White House. YEEEEEAhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Me and George Bush. We be pen pals. Well, not exactly, but I wrote him a while back and told him that I was praying for him and that I respected his integrity and apparent disregard for political expediency when opposed to his beliefs and values and that I respected him all the more in light of the media's wanton puerile behavior toward him. Etc, etc. So he wrote back, said thank you, asked me to keep praying, said some other cool stuff about prayer and sent a picture of himself and Mrs. Bush in which he is beaming cheekily and she is looking slightly manic. Probably the six hundredth picture taken by an irritating photographer. But isn't that so cool? I feel like I should frame everything, envelope, letter and picture. I'm almost famous!



So I didn't really get to finish my thoughts yesterday and must continue.
I can't truly describe the whole experience because it's something you have to go do...can't just hear about it. Esther said they're rated one of the top five bands in the world to see live, and after seeing's glaringly obvious why.
It had its more amusing moments: during Supermassive Black Hole the screens behind the stage were showing all these robots marching around, and there was this one robot that would pop up every now and then and "get low", start gyrating around, it was the funniest thing. There was the song (one from Black Holes and Revelations, can't remember the name) where everyone was told to hold up their cell phones and sway. It's the world we live in...every person in the crowd held up his or her small but brightly lit indispensible. The effect was actually quite beautiful.
Time is Running Out was the climax, which as Esther said, was nice because it's such a classic. Starlight was a big deal, but Time is Running Out had more lights and was the one where Matt actually stopped singing to see if the crowd would keep going...and man did they ever.
It was very loud. =)
In fact, it was so loud that if you sat down and leaned against your seat, your throat and vocal chords would be vibrating from the bass. Interesting and possibly cool, but also a little creepy. I elected to stand pretty much the whole time. I was bouncing and jumping around so much that I wore the skin off the balls of my feet. Trust me, that's not nearly as bad as it sounds, this happens with my toes because of soccer. Still--was a little weird peeling off great flaps of skin when I got home. But I didn't mind.
There was some political oddity at the end, but again, I didn't care. It was an oddity, simply put. And I have to say, hearing JFK's voice come out of nowhere is enough to give the faint of heart cardiac arrest. Honestly, that man had the most unfortunate speaking voice in the history of the Presidency.
And I got a shirt!!!!!!!!
For whatever reason, Feelin' Good was the most memorable song for me in the whole thing. It's now become one of my favorites of theirs.
I want to go again! But I guess I should keep busy thanking God for being able to go at all; could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.



Yes. I went to see MUSE a week ago and forgot to post something. It can happen to the best of us.

Sad to say, I don't remember much now. It's all kind of a blur, but what a blur! It was such a well done show. Bellamy didn't say much during the whole thing; "hello Portland" and "goodbye Portland". The drummer said more than he did. It was pretty much a nonstop rush, seamlessly flowing from one song to the next.
The piano was outlined in neon, with a glow in the dark keyboard. It was a grand piano, so you could see the strings, which were rigged up so that every time the hammer hit one, it would light up. Pretty snazzy.
Needless to say there was screaming galore; I became quite hoarse. They opened up with Knights of Cydonia and played most of Black Holes and Revelations...a lot of Absolution, too. Butterflies and Hurricanes was amazing, he prolonged the piano solo by like a minute and a half. And (possibly my favorite moment) someone tossed him a megaphone during Feelin' Good and he USED IT!!! Fun times.
But I must leave.


Happy Constitution Day!

Yes, I think it's a total crackup that Esther's birthday is on Constitution Day. Sort of a nudge from God, Est? Maybe? Happy Birthday.

Speaking of Esther, I completely forgot that Edward Norton is in the Italian Job. Which I just watched; a frankly weird looking guy walks onto the screen and I think to myself...he looks oddly familiar. Wait! It's Ed Norton! How strange. Safe to say he didn't look his best in that particular flick. Good flick, though.

Have to say, considering all the heat Bill Belichek has been taking this past week for stationing a guy with a camera on the sideline when everyone else secretes them in the crowd, I was blown away by the Patriots' performance yesterday. Kind of like they just wanted to come out and say "We don't win games because we know the opponents defensive playcalls. We win because our coach is the best in NFL history, no power in the 'verse can break through our O line, and our quarterback is younger than Bret Favre, calmer than Peyton Manning, and better than both of them. We win because we are the Patriots, we are championship material." Watching them tear apart San Diego, supposedly one of their challengers this season, I have to say I believe them. They're going to the Super Bowl, baby.

On the other hand, I need to post on the MUSE concert. Maybe tomorrow.

And I assume its Ben that's messing around with the format on this thing. I don't know how it works. So, if mess you must, I like this one fine.



It never stops hurting.


Glory Days

So my Patriots performed satisfactorily, to say the least. I am reconciled entirely with Randy Moss being on the team. And the offensive line was unreal. Completely unreal. How many quarterbacks get five or six seconds to make a play? And when your QB is TB, well. What can I say. Only I don't get the point of those green dots on the quarterbacks' helmets. What's all that about?


200th post!

Recently I have been hearing a certain volume of complaints about our actions regarding Afghanistan when we were financing their freedom fighters to oust the Soviet Union. (My apologies to certain other readers...I have gotten complaints on my posts that involve communists) Word on the street is that we (America) inadvertantly and quite stupidly created the Taliban even as we destroyed the USSR. Which in some people's opinion was no improvement for us.

Well, it wasn't much of an improvement for the Afghans, that's for sure. But it was an improvement for our country and most of Eastern Europe (well. let's admit it. the world) Defeating the Soviet Union was an objective that lay in the best interest of every man, woman, and child on the planet. The Taliban and Osama bin Laden presented a threat to human dignity too, within their region. But what frustrates me is that the money we sent to Afghanistan was primarily to the fine looking fellow you see above, not to Osama bin Chicken. Yes, chicken. The man never went so far as to throw a rock at the sky when Sputnik raced overhead. He had no problem posing next to tanks said fine looking fellow (Ahmad Shah Masoud) blew up. But we sent our funds to Masoud and continued to do so after the Taliban filled the power void. His Northern Alliance was pro-American and rather helpful before, during, and after we invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

What's more, Americans who went to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan often underwent a religious conversion. Accompanying men who fearlessly chase helicopters on foot, firing RPG's and yelling "Allahu Ackbar" must be quite the experience. They didn't convert to Islam, either; just rediscovered their Christian (often Catholic) past in the company of these on fire Muslims. Which is why I think the Afghanistan campaign was so important. Besides the stirring effect of defeating the Soviets for the first time in decades (as an actor, Reagan no doubt recognized the necessity of this dramtic action), that war united Muslims and Christians in a common war against the atheistic Communists. We finally had reason to unite: our shared belief in one God.

In today's climate of intense Islamic hostility towards Christians, Jews, Americans-well...anything that isn't Muslim and moves-I see fewer and fewer reasons to disparage our involvement there and more and more reasons to bring it back up and remember it. Masoud is, lamentably, dead, but I do think it's possible that another Islamic leader may be motivated as he was and ally (truly ally, not Saudi style) himself with America even though popular opinion is against it. Who knows. Stranger things have happened.


A Canticle For Leibowitz

I finished A Canticle For Leibowitz today. I hope I am not alone in feeling utterly and hopelessly confused about the very end. Well, not the Church being blasted into space, that I get. But what was up with the talking head? Why was she innocent and why did she have the preternatural gifts? And what happened to Mrs. Grales? Thoughts, anyone?
I really liked that last abbot, I have to say. His rebuttals to the euthanasia happy doctor were awesome. As was his lecture to the sick mother with the sicker baby. (Radiation poisoning)
" 'If I am being a little brutal,' said the priest, 'then it is to you, not to the baby. The baby, as you say, can't understand. And you, as you say, are not complaining. Therefore--'
'Therefore you're asking me to let her die slowly and--'
'No! I'm not asking you. As a priest of Christ I am commanding you by the authority of Almighty God not to lay hands on your child, not to offer her life in sacrifice to a false god of expedient mercy. I do not adivse you, I adjure and command you in the name of Christ the King. Is that clear?' "
It's clear to me! Man, I love that guy. I think we could stand to have a few more priests like him around in these days of murky compromise.


Oferte Vobis Pacem

I don't dig the sign of peace. The only time I saw a sign/kiss of peace that seemed appropriate and a good call was at John Paul II's funeral. Anytime you've got the Ayatollah of anything shaking hands with the Prime Minister of Israel you've got a miracle. Which seems especially appropriate at Mass. Or you can do the sign of peace before Mass, which makes much more sense. You know, dropping whatever you have against your brother before you approach the altar. But why do we have to smash the mood during the liturgy of the Eucharist? Talk about spiritual whiplash. One moment you're listening to the Sanctus, praying the Pater Noster, still in a state of contemplation after the Eucharistic Prayer, when BAM! Some nut next to you is grasping your hand with a seamy smile of fraternal love. Be it a sweaty palm or a sandpapery one, it's inevitably jarring. And then you're supposed to snap back into it for the Agnus Dei and communion. I suppose the key phrase here is "killing the mood" because Mass is not about how you the worshipper feel but about how the Worshipped is treated. On the other hand, I do think it might be more reverent to postpone the convention and hushed babble until afterwards. I can't imagine it would be anyone's first reaction to witnessing the Crucifixion..."Let's hug!!!" Maybe I'm wrong and crabby. (Perfectly possible answer) But I'm pretty tired of this thing.


Things that annoy me

1. Calling Vietnam "Nam" or "the Nam" 2. Bob Dylan's harmonica 3. The word "tasty" 4. Rumpled tablecloths on tables and unmade beds 5. John Travolta 6. The McLoughlin Group's theme song ( I know it's not really a song) 7. Conspiracy theories. Especially people who think the moon landing was a hoax 8. A table set with the spoon on the wrong side of the knife 9. Communists and the t-shirts they wear 10. People who yell at refs


best star wars fan film ever

I figure that if Ben's going YouTube crazy, so can I. I can't do whatever it is Ben does that puts it up on the screen, but check this out. I love it.


Monty python - Black knight (star wars)

I might as well start a series of these...

Star Trek Meets Monty Python

Just watch it.


The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello

This is a trailer to a very interesting-looking animation short that was nominated for an academy award last year, I think. Still trying to track the whole things down..

And in the meantime, here's the new single from KT Tunstal. Shweet. If your computer's too slow to stream it, you can always right click and "save as" to download.

Hold On



Last night, I saw The Tripelts of Belleville for the second time, a bizzare, completely original, and beautifully animated french film. It's really hard to explain. You just sort of have to experience it at your own risk.


Horatius Superbus

It's time for one of history's fabulous stories: Horatius at the bridge.

Lars Porsenna and Tarquin were on their way. Thousands of Etruscans were hitting the road for Rome, murder on their minds, sword hands twitching.

There was only one man Rome could look to in this desperate hour!


With his faithful sidekicks, Spurius Latrius and Herminius, Horatius made for the bridge over the river, the only route the Etruscans could take to Rome. As a legion of burly workers hacked and burned the bridge, Horatius stood tall and proud, shild on arm and sword in hand. No Etruscan would pass while Horatius drew breath!

A dust cloud gathered in the distance, and Horatius' eagle eye discerned Lars' flashing helm. He gripped his sword tighter and strengthened Spurius' and Herminius' reselove with a manly glance. The moment was near!

Five hours later, Etruscans were swarming the point that Horatius and co. held firm. Behind the Romans, the workers were nearly finished, hacking and burning with as much might and valor as their aching muscles allowed. The goal was nearly accomplished. Suddenly Horatius heard a bellow of pain to his left. Spurius had fallen, a battle axe through his cranium! Screaming with rage, Horatius grabbed the axe and whirled it round his head, once, twice, thrice! It rose into the air like a giant bird of prey and landed square on the crest of Lars' aide de camp. Herminius gave a shout of triumphed, only to be silenced by the snaking blade of a swarthy Etruscan.

Darkness veiled his eyes.
Horatius experienced a warp spasm. The situation was intolerable. His frightful countenance caused the enemy to fall back with cries of fear. His rage was fearful to behold. Raising his mighty sword, he laid to. Right and left and center swept the awesome blade and the Etruscans fell before this single man as wheat in the harvest. He was a force to be reckoned with.
A shout of delight found his ears above the din of battle and he realized that the bridge was destroyed at last! Aiming one last derisive laugh at his hopelessly distraught enemies, Horatius lept into the churning waters. His friends on the other side cried out in distress to see their hero thus cruelly taken from them. They need not have worried. Within minutes, Horatius surfaced, gasping but triumphant, on the Roman side.
He clambered up the steep bank and turned to roar his contempt at those Etruscan killers-of-friends! Those sacks of wine! They had been utterly frustrated in their attempt to pillage Rome.
Horatius received laurels and wine and adulation and lived out his life forever known as the savior of Rome.


Dark Knight Trailer!!

Need I say more?

Invasion!! Again

While we're on the whole Invasion theme, here's the trailer to Nichole Kidman's remake of Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, which is what the Eisley song was based on. Oh, and did you know Eisley's name was originally Mos Eisley, after the Tatooine city, but they had to change it for (obviously) copyright reasons? They're nerds!! :D



Here's Eisley in concert, playing Invasion. In an unrelated note, Orson Scott Card has a great review of the new Harry Potter Movie at:



Eisley was really good last night. I knew they would be, of course, because I love them, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun they are live. Sherri (sp? in the middle) is hilarious, has the best dry, sarcastic sense of humor that kept the crowd cracking up all night. I can't get over how good those girls' voices are! It was great...the highlight was definitely "Invasion" ( "it's about aliens...I guess I don't have to say anything more..."), that was really well done. And now I can't wait to get their new album in August. Sounds like it'll good.

This guy named Wesley Jenson opened for them. He sounded a lot like them, actually. Sang with thier little sister. Friendly chap.


Stardust Trailer

For those who haven't seen it yet...this looks like one of the best movies of the summer.

Stardust - Trailer

Posted Apr 03, 2007

In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.


I've discovered that I don't really like people who are obsessive about the operating systems they have. Nearly all of them bay for Bill Gates blood and regard themselves as the gods of the computer world. How to make them doesn't matter. Bill Gates was a fabulous marketeer and understood faster than most people that the future was in software. Then he took over. Not his fault if his products are marginally dysfunctional. Sheesh. At least they're usable, and for most people....that's enough. So let's leave it at that. It's not that important. On the other hand, I am going to see Eisley tonight and am super happy about that.


as regards one of the previews below

What's up with the preview for The Dark is Rising? I finally got around to watching it, and then realized that I actually remembered that book and have the distinct impression that this movie is not about to capture the spirit of the book. I have memories of this series being cool because the books were creepy, not campy. I'm disappointed. On the other hand, it's hard to be depressed when you're listening to the Mamas and the Papas. All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey. I've been for a walk on a winter's day. CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' ON SUCH A WINTERS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even like California, but the song makes me happy.



Walden Media seems to be quite busy these days adapting famous british childrens' fantasy books... And here's the old Golden Compass Trailer...



Yeah. I finally saw King's Row, with Ronald Reagan (minus his legs). I really liked it, in spite of the other main character (one Robert Cummings) and his strained expressions. Do you think it bothers Christopher Hitchens that his name is, well, Christopher? What with the whole "religion is poison" schpeel that gets him his bread and butter, it might lead to awkward questions. "Why are you name Christ-bearer?" Therefore I have decided to re-christen (hehe) him Destiny Hitchens. Still catchy.


Harry Potter!

So I just saw movie number five in the Harry Potter saga and it was SO SO SO SO SO good!!! Definitely the best movie so far, one of the more coherently put together of the flicks, and totally enthralling. They're all so old now! Ron's huge, the twins are huger, and Neville was almost decent looking (don't think anyone saw that coming) There was an execptionally well put together preview for The Golden Compass before the movie. Too bad I can't in good conscience see it. Even if it does have Daniel Craig in it, Philip Pullman's still diabolically evil and ought to be chucked out a window. For heaven's sake, the louse said that CS Lewis was a morally corrupting influence on children, and altogether evil. He lies like a Calorman. He lies like an ape. Kudos to American kids for not being all that into his satanic series...although I'm afraid that says more about illiteracy in this country than moral qualms. Back to Harry Potter. Snape is amazing. Absolutely amazing. The way Alan Rickman delivers the most banal lines blows my mind. Things like "Obviously" or "No idea" or "I think I may vomit." You say them to yourself and it's no big deal. You hear him say them and you fall out of your chair laughing. Helena Bonahm (sp?) Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange was fantastic as well as Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. On the other hand, I expect many people watched the film version of Dumbledore in great pain, fervently regretting Richard Harris's death. As long as we're on the subject of magic and the fantastical, let's discuss the question: is it original to like (or love) The Lord of the Rings? I would say that in the sixties it was absolutely unoriginal, those books being a current fad in most college campuses. But what about now? I would venture to say that if you value your dignity and public perception of your brain power, you are being absolutely original in avowing any kind of attachment to the books, let alone (heaven forbid) having the lunacy to admit they might be your favorites works of literature. In these times, to say such (curse you, Pullman) infantile things is to consign yourself to a group of anti social, reclusive, most likely teenage, spectacle wearing and pocket protector sporting freaks who would just as soon speak Elvish as English, probably wear cloaks when they're alone (which would be most of the time) and treat the Silmarillion as Holy Writ. It's terrifying. Among the illuminati of the literary world, Tolkien is children's literature and regarded with fond condescencion. (sp???) The quaint, obsessive, perfectionist, old Englishman could spin a tale but has no right to be set among the greats. Why? Because he's too gosh darned accesible. Any person from any walk of life, at any age can enjoy his work. Teachers and writers with English doctorates are unwilling to label Tolkien as a genius because they don't have to spend hours and hours and thousands more pages explaining what it's all about. People intuitively understand that every page of The Lord of the Rings can relate directly to them, to the shabbiness and pettiness or the grandeur and glory of their lives. Tolkien wrote about "the people" for "the people". His literary labor has permeated the culture so thoroughly that the most uneducated schmuck on the street probably knows what a hobbit is. For that, the litereary elite can never forgive him. His work isn't considered original anymore. Ten thousand pathetic imitations spiralling off in all directions through the ensuing decades have seen to that. It's not exciting anymore. Ten million teenage freaks arguing over the pronunciation of Quenya versus Sindarin have seen to that. Tragic, but true. Tolkien told a story that radiated all that's good and glorious about our lives, and all that's noble and worth fighting for. He showed countless readers the pride they could take in the daily execution of the most menial duties because they were part of the overwhelmingly beautiful scope of humanity. I think in strange sort of way, The Lord of the Rings showed a great many people how and why life is worth living, and for that I will always harbor an intense admiration and affection for his work. But anyway, go see Harry Potter. It's good stuff!


Another blankety blank day in paradise

Global warming is going to kill us all...and me first. What's with the 100+ degree weather? Seriously, I live in the Northwest for a reason. I don't like hot days. I start whining when it cracks 80, I refuse to go outside if it goes past 90, but 100? Please. I know it's July and all, but how about some nice sunny days at a breezy 74? Sound good? Or maybe even a pleasant downpour. Just make the sun go away.


Salmon Jerkey is good

Salmon Jerkey tastes like beef jerkey but with a very, very faint fishy aftertaste. And because it's salmon, it bothers me not a whit. Our printer is stupid and prints with annoying lines through everything, even though I clean its printer heads for it. Machines are useless, they just break down. It's vexing. I'm terribly vexed. So I finished a collection of Washington Irving short stories. Nathaniel Hawthorne is obsessed with Puritans and Washington Irving is obsessed with Dutchmen. After soccer training camp thing today, we did the most fabulous ab workout, but if you want to know what it was, you will have to ask in a comment, because I'm so depressed about the lack of comments. And I KNOW people are reading this, because sometimes certain people will reference certain posts, and I will think...why did you not comment??? It's so sad to know that you are not talking to a brick wall, just people who refuse to acknowledge you in the cyberworld. I would have a better work ethic if someone would comment. And Sarah's off the hook because I'm pretty sure there aren't any computers in Wyoming.

New Music

So one of my new favorite bands is Windmill. I haven't even heard their new album yet, Puddle City Racing Lights, but the two tracks I have are sweet stuff. They sound what would happen if Win Butler married Wayne Coyne. If that makes any sense.

As a bonus, I've added a track from the Pipettes, one of the girliest, bounciest, most addictive bands ever.

Tokyo Moon
Plastic Pre-Flight Seats

The Pipettes:
Pull Shapes


missa simplicitatae

Jean Langlais (sp?) is one of my favorite composers to sing. We got to practice the above mentioned mass tonight. Mucho allegro. Y feliz... My favorite mass ever is Missa Solonelle, which I got to sing in France in the church Langlais wrote it for. Complete with machine gun riddled pews from WWII. He's very French, but so dang cool.


Eisley in Portland

Eisley is going on tour and will be in Portland on July 24th at the Wonder Ballroom. Tickets are still available, for those interested. Their new album, Combinations, is coming out August 14th.


Independence Day

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not...
It may be the will of Heaven that America will suffer calamities still more wasting, and distress yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us. The furnace of afflication produces refinement, in States as well as individuals...But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe.
John Adams was a prophetic and perspicacious individual. Just got the date wrong, that's all.
It's still an inspiring and beautiful letter, a few hundred years later.


immigration fatigue

Je suis tres, tres fatigue... This about hits it on the head. I am totally spent on immigration and have had to avoid the Hugh Hewitt show assiduously for the past week since he can't talk about anything else. Medved's at least addressed it and then moved on, while Prager has now confessed that he's not that jubilant about the bill getting killed and will probably start talking about how we need to fix the situation differently. Me, I'm relieved. Relieved that the bill isn't going through because I'm not too terribly thrilled with rewarding law breaking but also because I've had it. I don't want to hear about immigration for at least for another month. Hope springs eternal. On another note I am also tired of hearing illegal aliens called undocumented immigrants. I'm not anti-immigrant, and they're not immigrants. They're stowaways.



Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Got that? It's a grammatically correct sentence, it is. It means that buffalo from Buffalo (New York) that are bullied by other buffalo from Buffalo bully (buffalo) buffalo from Buffalo themselves. If you work it out slowly, it does make sense. Totally weird, though.


Assassination of character

Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? Sound familiar? It's the Agincourt speech that Joseph Welch delivered with such histrionic magnificence to Joe McCarthy at the Army-McCarthy hearings. It came after several mocking demands to name Communists were made by Welch to McCarthy's assistant Roy Cohn. McCarthy, tired of Welch's juvenile behavior, interrupted and told him that Welch had no further to look than his own office, where Communist Fred Fisher was working at the time. Cue Welch's tears and noble oration. Funny thing was, everyone in that hearing knew that Fisher was a Communist. At least, everyone who read the New York Times did. For Welch himself had given an interview to that paper a few days earlier, describing how Fred Fisher was indeed a member of the subversive (to use the Attornery General's term) communist National Lawyers Guild. There are a lot of funny things about what actually happened during the McCarthy era. Like the fact that McCarthy was not involved with the blacklisting of Hollywood screen writers and actors. (Not that this blacklisting crimped their style much; but it does make for a good sob story on paper.) Or the fact that McCarthy never mixed his numbers up, never said he had 205 names, only ever 57. Or the fact that he did his level best to not name names, and only did so when the Democratically controlled Congress demanded it. Or the fact that if you look at the rhetoric of the times, McCarthy was among the milder spoken men in Congress. He was not involved as much in outing espionage, he merely was making the very good point that there were a number of security risks working in important government positions, and that given the state of the Soviet Union and its predilection for coups, this really wasn't the best idea. But the truth about McCarthy sounds insane. It sounds uneducated and uniformed, not to mention terribly unsophisticated to say that McCarthy was a great American patriot and hero who made the USSR's sinister work much, much harder for them. He can be credited with the salvation of America. While others were aware in a vague way of the threat from within, only McCarthy was willing to drag the ugly, festering problem in the bright light of day. It makes me sick with fury to realize that not only did liberal demogogues, journalists, and politicians literally hound McCarthy to his death, they have been able to dance wild tarentellas on his grave with complete impunity for half a century afterward. They so completely assassinated his character that no amount of books, lectures, or TV specials will ever be to salvage it. His reputation was mauled, savaged, and irrevocably ruined. Nearly fifty years after his death, the Venona Project confirmed from decrypted Soviet cablegrams that more than 300 payed Soviet agents were working in the American governemnt from the thirties to the fifties. And yet this little fact has remained buried in obscurity because the evil empire is gone and Soviets are no longer interesting. And Tailgunner Joe is still an object of shame and derision despite the truth: he did not unjustly accuse or ruin anyone's life. The only real victim of the dictionary definition of "McCarthyism" was McCarthy himself.


The Ronald Wilson Reagan Presidential Library!!!

It's da bomb.

I got to visit Reagan's library while in old California and I feel like I finally appreciate what a tremendous individual he was. Not that I was ever too much affected by the cynicism of those who mocked his movies or derisively pointed out that Nancy was his second wife. But it's so incredibly moving to go to that building where they have so many mini (lol....many mini???) movies of him giving his inspirational speeches and taking the higher (if harder) road.

He was possibly the best president America has ever had.

I confess that a lot of the displays and speeches had me in tears (especially the Cold War room) but then I have evolved into a very lugubrious person. It takes very little to dissolve me into a helpless puddle of salty misery...but I digress. Did you know that they have George Gipp's sweater there? And John McCain's Vietnam POW bracelet thing? Oh...Reagan on Vietnam was priceless (why am still surprised when he's awesome?) "We must never again send our men to fight a war they are not allowed to win". Tell me about it.

Did you know that Reagan was a life guard in high school and saved 77 people from drowning? Another cool tidbit: At the conference thing in Reykyavik, when relations between us and the USSR kind of broke down, or at least the whole talks ended badly...well, Gorbachev refused to give in to our demands and then had the temerity to demand that we dismantle the SDI. So Reagan basically said "that's it, we're leaving". And the picture there is the one of them leaving (also the only picture there where Reagan looked even annoyed, let alone furious). The guy who took the picture said he heard Gorbachev say "I don't know what else I could have done" and Reagan whirled on him and replied "You could have said 'yes' ", got in the car and slammed the door in his face.

That's my kind of diplomacy! None of this namby pamby wishy washy sort of stuff that goes on at the UN. Reagan said he had made a promise to the American people, and he intended to keept it.

The day we went was the twentieth anniversary of the "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech (June 12). We got to see Reagan's copy of the speech, including his last minute emendations and corrections. Too awesome for words.

They have the Air Force One that he flew in there and we got to wander around in it. Now I want one.

Btw, the picture above is of the conference in Iceland. Reagan looks mightily ticked off and Gorbachev looks depressed.


Memorial Day...concert

Whoa now. The last time I heard Richard Zeller sing with the choir, I was a little kid and was mostly amused by how dang loud his voice was. Thought it was pretty cool. On Sunday, I heard his voice's not just loud. It's gorgeous. The concert was amazing, of course, a lot of Vaughn Williams, some stuff from Carmen and Tosca, The Five Mystical Songs, and some Rodgers and Hammerstein. Great stuff. He's such a great singer, but he's also a fantastic performer. If you just listen, you miss a lot. I found some fun stuff about him on George Fox, his alma mater. I thought this quote was hilarious... It’s not easy being baritone in the typecast world of opera. “The baritone loves the soprano," says Zeller. "The soprano loves the tenor, and the tenor gets the girl. I’m always the bad guy, and I never get the girl. Sometimes, I get to kill the tenor and that’s fun."


Round Two!

I just had to do another one, it was too much fun. These are movie your best. 1. Made it, Ma! Top of the world! 2. Crazy bellringer was right, there's money to be made in a place like this. 3. ...I think I made it mad. 4. I'm only paranoid because they want me dead. 5. I want you to find this nancy-boy (name), I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! 6. Sometimes we don't do things we want to do so that others won't know we want to do them. 7. Y'know, this was supposed to be my weekend off, but noooo. You got me out here draggin' your heavy a** through the burnin' desert with your dreadlocks stickin' out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin' all big and bad... and what the h*** is that smell? I COULD'VE BEEN AT A BARBECUE! 8. You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all. Poor soul, you were just too high strung. 9.A young girl, transfigured by Italy! And why shouldn't she be transfigured? It happened to the Goths! 10. In order to converse with an equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God. Read number eight aloud with an outrageous southern drawl. It'll help.



Another reason I am totally fed up with teenagers. What's with the language? Not that I run into gobs of profanity or anything (at least among the more frequently met ones) but I have just about had it with the crudity. Why does this have to be a test for how cool or mature you are? Can't they see how little sense that makes? Real men control their emotions in a crisis (theoretically) and don't resort to profanity because they just can't take it anymore. That's a weakling's way out. As for the girls, it would be nice if they could see how manifestly unattractive it is, but unfortunately Magaret Sanger sowed her seeds very well indeed. It's a pity they can't see that it is more demeaning to themselves than anything else. Not only does it make them appear uncultured, vulgar, and vapid, it carries across the image of an insecure and and altogether unintelligent person. Is this really what you want to be projecting here, people? It's the same with idiot teenage boys (and one or two girls I know) who think it's hilarious to be racist. Of course they aren't really racist anymore than they actually mean to damn anything to hell. Racist humor (when overused, which is basically the only way it comes anymore) is horribly demeaning, but not necessarily to the racial groups targeted. The person who comes off worst in the process is the comedian himself. You shouldn't behave like a neanderthal because you ought to care what direction your life takes. Which is inevitably affected by popular perception of yourself. This isn't a hard one...


pan's labyrinth

Last night I had the misfortune of viewing Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, an experience I would gladly take back. It wasn't that the film was blatantly anti Franco's Spain and laughably pro Communist. That I could live with; that I was prepared for. I was ready to look around that to see what there was to offer. Turned out to be very little. It was, definitely the most disgustingly violent movie I have ever seen. It's been a long time indeed since I've had to turn away because I could not make myself watch. Of course fairy tales are often violent; Grimms' fairy tales are filled bloodshed. Even Hans Christian Anderson has violence in his tales. But not like this. There was no point to the violence, unless it was to say that Franco's Spain was a hell of oppression and moral depravity. There is no beauty in del Toro's work, only a freakish parody of beauty, as if he were the little boy from Anderson's The Snow Queen (a real fairy tale) who saw everything through a twisted perspective of hideousness. Twisted, perhaps, is the best word for the movie. It was a vile depiction of what might have been an adult's nightmare, but could never be an adult's fairy tale. Christianity was abandoned with a vengeance and paganism was glorified as the remnant of a long ago and maybe more peaceful era. What was left of any moral at all was a flimsy attempt at heroism. Ironically, it gave out a dimly Christian message at the end, as though the writers suddenly realized that pagan ideals are not conducive to strong moral points. In all, I was not so much disappointed as saddened. It left me thinking..."I really wish I hadn't seen that."


Eliot Ness would be so disgusted

I'm sick of teenagers. Mostly I'm sick of teenagers who are stupid and rebellious because they honestly have nothing better to do. What do you say to someone who tells you that underage drinking is fine in moderation, just like all other drinking? (I think the rationale is something along the lines of...little kids are allowed to drink in Europe, so why can't we?) See, I'm not even going to go into how the brain is not fully formed until age 25; of course alcohol is going to mess with your brain if you imbibe pre-25. You want to drink at home with family, whatever. Knock yourself out. (Not literally, please.) My problem is that these kiddos think it's fine to break the law if it's a mundane, maybe not perfectly sensible law. No question about breaking a law if it's immoral; that goes without saying. But what about not drinking before you're 21? Natural law doesn't really say anything about it, but Federal law does. As Eliot Ness said about Prohibition: "It's the law of the land." Now, Prohibition was a seriously bad idea. It increased crime rate unbelievably and actually increased the rate at which Americans drank. But that shouldn't have mattered to the Average Joe. Average Joe should have obeyed the law because it was the law, not broken it because he knew better. Whatever happened to obedience being a virtue in and of itself?


Summer Jobs

The Ninja answers an important question.


for those of you with writer's block...

Here are some terrifically bad metaphors. I had to edit out a few of them...they were too much even for me. 1 His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free. 2 He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. 3 She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef. 4 Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. 5 He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree. 6 The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine. 7 The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't. 8 From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p. m. instead of 7:30. 9 Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36p. m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p. m. at a speed of 35 mph. 10 They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth. 11 John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. 12 He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River. 13 Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut. 14 Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do. 15 The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil this plan just might work. 16 The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. 17 He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something. 18 It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools. 19 He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up


another game

So now we're going to do first lines of books. I like most of them a lot. Personally, I think this one'll be super easy, but we'll see. 1. On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S---- Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K---- Bridge. 2.It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. 3.Rising up into the air, they took to the sky and flew. 4.1801--I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. 5.On the second floor of one of the oldest houses on the right bank of the river lived the Alvears. 6.On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below. 7.In your letter to me you emphasize the extraordinary courage with which the so-called "weaker sex" face death every day of these terrible times. 8.Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a work-house... 9.The fourteenth of August was the day fixed upon for the sailing of the brig Pilgrim on her voyage from Boston round Cape Horn to western coast of North America. 10.It is perverse! To start a play made up of Kings and Cardinals in speaking costumes and intellectuals with embroidered mouths, with me.


you people are so lazy

Since no one's commenting (or no one's which case there's not much I can do) I've devised a game. I'm going to list ten movies I love, give a quote from each, and then you have to guess which they are. Now you'll have to comment. And don't google them, then it's pointless!! 1.Never take your eyes off your opponent... even when you bow. 2.You went halfway around the world. You spent a fortune. You did terrible things. Really terrible things, R-----. And all for nothing. 3.I don't care about the thirty dead. I care about my knighthood. 4.Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I'm not a mistake. 5.When a man with .45 meets a man with a rifle, you said, the man with a pistol's a dead man. Let's see if that's true. Go ahead, load up and shoot. 6.You look quite fashionable. Apart from the mud. 7.The best horse will win in spite of pedigree, my boy. 8.A bit of musicality, please! 9.Sleeping in the streets and pulling out their hair for someone they never knew. And they think we're mad! 10.She says the jungle... it just came alive and took him.


Go ahead...make my day.

So far my weekend viewing experience has been a little weighted on the Clint Eastwood side. Dirty Harry and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to be exact. Harry has some amazing lines, I have to say, even though Eastwood apparently constantly asked the writers to pare his lines down since he stared at people better than he delivered lines. (His own words) But it's fun to go up to people and say "I know what you're thinking. You're asking yourself, 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' To tell you the truth, I've kind of lost track myself, in all this excitement. But being as this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and could blow your head clean off, the question you should be asking yourself is, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?"
Actually, I have yet to say that to anyone, but I think it would be a rewarding experience. And yes, I typed that quote out from memory.
He's even funnier as The Good (man with no name). "There are two kinds of people in this world...those with loaded guns, and those who dig." Unfortunately, I was watching it with philistines, so I was unable to enjoy it to its full two hours plus glory.
Dirty Harry reminds me strongly of Jack Bauer.


spider-man 3

I went to see Spider-Man 3 last night, and was surprised to find that this one is my favorite one so far! It was a really good story, had some new and interesting characters, I was not bothered by Harry's existence for the first time, and it had some priceless comic moments. Bryce Dallas Howard made a perfect Gwen Stacy.

Despite the lateness of the hour, the theater was filled. And not with weridos in spidey suits, either. I think it made over fifty million the first day, which is good for the producers, since it cost something like 370-something million to make.

Anyway; I think I might be inclined to see it again.


quote of the day

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god. ~William Shakespeare you have to say it really dramatically, emphasizing every attribute of man. It's heaps of fun.


officially a geek

...or a nerd. But I think being a nerd involves being good at math or science, which I'm not. There's nothing intelligent about wathcing seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but done it I have. Relentlessly, doggedly, watched every last episode they had to offer. Granted, I have become more learned in areas in which most normal people have not the slightest interest. I can tell a Kardassian (ha! at least I can't spell it!) from a Ferengi (probably misspelled that one too!) with consumate ease, a feat I cannot claim even a year ago. Ah, well. It got a little tedious toward the end of the last season (although the series finale was entertaining enough) but I made it. I don't know if I qualify as a Trekker, though, even if I do know Riker's middle name. Something about the way I tended to shake with unbidden laughter at the tragic or dramatic moments tells me that I might be shunned in their ranks.



By now everyone knows about the death of acclaimed cellist Mstislav Rostopovich at age 80. Funny enough, I knew of him first as a strong figure in the anti-Soviet movement before I realized he was also a incredible musician.
He was a friend of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and helped investigative biographer Edvard Radzinsky get ahold of some technically off limits documents. (For those of you who don't know Radzinsky's work, I would recommend his The Last Tsar, by far the best biography of Nicholas II I have ever read. He also has written great works on Rasputin and Stalin.) Rostopovich also performed Shastakovich's unmistakably rebellious symphonies with relish.
With Boris Yeltsin dead, Russia has lost two products of the Soviet dominated 2oth century, men who were willing to stand up and fight against injustice. Not too encouraging, given the troubling inclinations of her current president.



Another thought on A Fistful of Dollars. Did you know that Jeremy Bulloch (played BOBA FETT!!!) acted out his part in Star Wars based on The Man With No Name (aka Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars)? Crazy cool, huh? I may have random taste, but it appears to be consistent. ( I love Boba Fett, in case you hadn't caught on.)

The Squint of Clint!

Too bad for you people; I was going to do a piece on combat robots, it being about time for a completely random and unexpected train of thought. But then someone deleted it and quite frankly I had no inclination to research a topic that strange all over again.
On the other hand, I've watched A Fistful of Dollars about five times since renting it on Saturday. I kind of forgot that it's one of my must have movies..."I don't think it's nice, you laughing. My mule doesn't like it; he gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him..."
Very quotable. And hilarious. And the music is fabulous.
I got to go play tennis now, only one more week.


April is the cruellest month...


Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

I think Eliot spelled cruelest with two l's because he was mad that his name only had one. That's my stab at being a poety critic.

I love this time of year...colors are all intense and varied, the weather alternates between heavenly and apocolyptical, and I feel like I'm receiving some cosmic stream of energy. Maybe it's from a whirling dervish!

I refereee soccer games every Saturday, and absolutely love watching the ten year old boys playing their hearts out. Especially when it's a tubby Mexican kiddo who can't run very fast but has better footwork than anyone else on the field. That was hilarious. He may have been un poco gordo, but could dribble circles around all the skinny white kids. He even chipped it over one guy's head, spun around him, and kept going. Incredible.


The Guggenheim Grotto

And here is a song from a new band I heard about from a friend. They are from Ireland, and are very catchy. I Told You So

The Graveyard Book

Neil Giaman is about 100 pages into his next children's book, The Graveyard Book, according to his blog. He writes it by hand in an unlined Venitian notebook, which I think is cool. Above is a picture. You can see him reading a chunk of it on YouTube here.


That was unexpected

This caught me totally offguard. I still can't believe that Kennedy went the right way...the Catholics on the Court held thier own. It's impressive. And then Kennedy wrote the opinion, to boot! It's a wild, wild world. And for now, a better one.


nuns with guns



For a girl I'm not much of a horse person, and didn't tend to read horse books unless they had something to do with racing. Some of the ones I remember being fairly awesome were Gaudenzia by Marguerite Henry, King of the Wind by the same, and Man O' War by somebody else. (I'm just a goldmine of information, I know) Man O' War was totally the best one, and in fact remains one of my favorite books period, aside from the horse category.

It probably results from my love of spectacular sports stories, and Man O' War's record (21 starts, 20 wins) and fabulous name made a definite imprint on my memory. The other horse I remember kind of growing up with (stories of him, I never saw him race) was Secretariat. I used to love hearing the story of his winning of the Triple Crown and especially the famous Belmont Stakes race. Which was why I was so excited to find this. I finally got to see it! (Ah, I love YouTube) And then this was pretty awesome too, considering that those are just about the only horses I really was at all attached to. (You just have to ignore the appalling spelling in that one).

So that's about as far as me and horses go, but I do think that those guys were way cool.


guess who I saw yesterday?

That's who.
As it is Friday the thirteenth, I will indulge in my fondness for statistics and of course my desire to inform my gentle readers.
The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 240,000. Only 100 people each year die from lightning strikes.
The odds of being killed in a tornado are 1 in 5 million. Only 60 people each year dies in tornados.
The odds of being killed from a bee, hornet, or wasp sting are 1 in 5.33 million.
The odds of being bitten by a venomous snake are 1 in 37,250. Only 12 people a year actually die from snake bites.
The odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million. In fact, according to the International Shark Attack File, you are more likely to sustain an injury from your toilet seat than from a shark. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
The odds of being attacked and/or mauled by a bear are 1 in 36 million. And that's if you live in Wyoming.
So there's not much to fear this Friday the 13th.


me wonders...

I just remembered that TIE fighters make an excruciating screeching sound when they go flying space. Isn't space a vacuum? Shouldn't there sound? And you shouldn't be able to hear the lasers either. It doesn't make any sense. And then (surprise surprise) I was watching Star Trek last night and the intrepid crew started panicking because they were....low on fuel??? You're in space, for crying out loud! Why don't you just turn on the engine, and then turn it off? There's no air resistance, and nothing to slow you down.

It frustrates me.

For those of you who notice "distinct veins" in my writing, my deepest apologies. I had been brooding about this and needed to let it out.


Holy Saturday

I finished War and Peace! Tolstoy thought than man did not have free will. I think that Tolstoy did not have an editor.


Good Friday

O Sacred head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn
O bleeding head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn
Death's pallid hue comes o'er thee, the glow of life decays
Yet angels hosts adore thee, and tremble as they gaze.


Holy Thursday

Notice Judas' atrocious table manners. A remarkable lunge.
Holy Thursday is almost my favorite part of Eastertide because it is my favorite Mass of the entire year. Not because of the washing of the feet, or the cute little first communicants processing around, or even the silent reverence in front of the Altar of Repose. It's a combination of the music and the fact that it is all so centered around the Holy Eucharist. It's one of two times a year that I receive the Precious Blood (the other being Corpus Christi).
Plus the possibility that it may be a Dominican Rite.


Spy Wednesday

I almost forgot what day it was today. In fact, it's hard to realize that it is in fact Holy Week already. Palm Sunday was a little surreal and life has been more than a little hectic since then.
Do we know that Judas is in Hell? We're not supposed to judge anyone, and Dante was hardly an authority on roll call down there. On the other hand, if Jesus says that it would be better that you were never born...I can't imagine that you would end up in Heaven, since that would mean that it was better that you were born. And why was it better for Judas never to be born? Jesus had to die to complete His mission, so he would have been handed over to the Sanhedrin one way or another. My theory is that it's because he not only lost belief in Jesus but also despaired and killed himself, thus committing what is called an "unforgivable sin". I think that means that if you truly despair, it is unforgivable because you decide that you can't be forgiven, and don't bother repenting.

Bet you weren't expecting this!

Ben feels we have fallen into a rut, and to allay his fears, I will now post on totally random and unexpected topics. Such as Whirling Dervishes. Cool picture, huh?
Apparently dervish means mendicant in ancient Persian and dervishes are a sect of a sect of Islam. They beg to learn humility, but cannot keep their earnings for themselves and have to give it all away. So I don't know how they live or eat...maybe they don't. In Turkey they perform whirling to obtain religious ecstacy, holding one palm up to receive energy and one palm down to transmit it to the earth. They are also a major tourist attraction.
Now that I've edified you all, I think I'll be on my way. And I hope that this was off the beaten path enough to surprise you all.


Does anyone think we could use more contributors on this thing? You know, fresh blood. Not that I think our content gets stale exactly, but it does seem to run in some very definite veins. Just an idea...