Del Toro

The mad genius Guillermo Del Toro is at it again. After the awesome success of Pan's Labyrinth, he's gained enough respect to move ahead with his next project: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Doug Jones, who played The Faun and the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, will be reprising his role as Abe Sapien, and will also take on the (heavily prostheticated) roles of two characters named The Chamberlain and The Angel of Death. Coooooool. Rumors are that the story will focus on Hellboy facing down Baba Yaga, as she rallies mythological forces in a bid to destroy the world. Or something. It doesn't really matter. The point is, it will involve Ron Pearlman donning red makeup and dishing out pain to all manner of villainy. I saw him recently in The City of Lost Children, and he was cool in that too. Del Toro is awesome. How can you not like a guy who's dream job is making a movie of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness? I ask you! :)


Six Words

Wired Magazine had a challenge, where famous people tried to write a story in six words. Great idea for a writing exercise, and quite amusing.


The recent winner of the Toronto Film Festival, Bella, was played in our commons last week, introduced by the director and star, Eduardo Verastegui. It's one of the best movies I've seen this year; great acting, directing, music etc., but was really surprising was the movie's emphatically pro-life theme. Apparently, Verastegui was a mexican superstar before he had a radical conversion and decided to found his own film company where he could make genuinely Catholic movies. However, there's narry a trace of religion in the movie, and not even a hint of the condescention or mushy warm feelings so typical in "religious" movies. There are no tirades against abortion, nor condemnation. What's driven home so forcefully is the pain that results from taking life, no matter what stage it's at. The pregnant woman is portrayed with real compassion, with an understanding that her choices are terrible, and that she wants to have a child when she'll be able to raise it. This is the sort of movie we need more of: character driven works of art that contain real truth, not sentimental, preachy flicks about Why Abortion is Bad. **** (out of 4) Release Date: August 14th - GO SEE IT. For Trailers and more info go Here. Also: Chicago Sun-Times article.


agendas, agendas...

So the other day I was watching Star Trek The Next Generation and actually found myself unable to foresee how a particular episode would end. (amazing, I know) There was a conflict of liberal agendas and to the end I was unsure who would prevail, Cultural Identity Man or Make Love Not War Man. After a lot of tension and dialogue, Cultural Identity Man won. I was almost surprised; I had thought that nothing was more important living in peace with the rest of the universe, but turns out that if your heritage involves war and bloodshed...can't stop you from embracing it because THERE ARE NO MORAL ABSOLUTES in the 24th century. It's terrible. I am led to suspect that the intrepid captain and crew of the Starship Enterprise would accede to the traditional needs of Muslim terrorists to wreak havoc and kill infidels. After all, we can't understand all cultures, but apparently we have to "respect" them and let them wend their merry way through history. Ah... I think I would prefer to hang out with Hernando Cortes rather than Jean-Luc Picard (I know Picard doesn't exist, give me a break for my hypothetical situtation) because quite honestly I would rather wipe a civilization that was into human sacrifice, not try to understand it.


Philosophy Class

I had Philosophy Class with Mr. Paietta today, which got out at 11. All I really remember was him explaining how Renaissance magicians were constantly searching for the Adamite language, so that they could control creation through the use of "real" names. Not exactly sure how we got there from the Posterior Analytics.



Nirvana is a state you reach when you've been involved with a Russian piece of art for too long. You become so absorbed in the experience that you forget that there is anything else to be watching or doing. It's inescapable and inevitable.
This has happened to me twice. The first time I was watching Andrei Rublev with my family. Within the bubble of our den, immobile in our respective seats, we huddled for what seemed like eons, watching the enigmatic monk (among other people) flit to and fro on the screen, accomplishing something...I was never quite sure what. After the first couple of hours, I couldn't seem to remember life before Andrei Rublev and was almost confused as to what might happen to me after the film ceased. My life, or so it seemed, had always centered around this black and white and totally (okay, I'm not a movie critic, I just didn't get it. I was also a few years younger) random movie. As soon as it ended, the spell was broken and I was left with the memory of a very strange few hours.
It's kind of happening again with War and Peace. I am 800 pages into it, and am obsessed with it. I find myself drifting towards it at all hours of the day, causing consternation when I realize that I haven't quite reached the stage where I can drop school for any allotted amount of time. It's sucking me in, making me wonder if there is any other book besides this massive amount of bound together paper and ink. I'm also beginning to wonder if Tolstoy had an outline or was always winging it. It all depends if it ends the way I want it to or not. If Natasha marries Pierre I will throw a fit. If she gets back together with Andrew/Andrei, the book will have my blessing. Not that it needs it, but just so my faithful readers know what's up.


Gladiator Games

Here at Peter and Paul dorm, when we're in the mood for a bit of fun, we put on togas, pick up weapons, and beat each other senseless. Huzzah!
Below...Stephen Sims vs. Blaise Blane!! (right-click, then "save as")



Ben, you clearly have too much time on your hands. You need to settle down into one template that you like, find contentment there, and leave it alone! All this changing is making me woozy. Anyway. Did you know that at both Marie Antoinette's and Empress Alexandra's (of Russia, the last one) weddings/coronations a huge amount of people were killed in seemingly random stampedes? Pretty weird. At Marie's party a small fire started near the fireworks and people ran in all directions, crushing each other as a result. At Alexandra's, the big crowd that gathered for the free food and gifts broke through the barrier and again, many (as in the thousands) were crushed to death. So when you get married, make sure to avoid giving receptions in small halls adn employ riot police if need be. Both these ladies met gruesome ends, and I'm sure we don't want to repeat the mistake...


happy St. Joseph's Day

Since the invasion was exactly four years ago, here is a thingie from Christopher Hitchens, with whom I pretty much agree on Iraq. He's kind of creepy in other respects, though. Too bad. I saw Casino Royale a couple days ago and was favorably impressed for the most part. Not the best looking Bond ever, but in the words of the wise, better than a sharp stick in the eye. One thing that did trouble me was his half baked attempt at CPR. That was pathetic; I could have done better! I know from watching LOST that you should never give up on that kind of thing.


Another day...or is it.

St Patrick's Day affects the whole country. People who aren't Irish or Catholic don't care what it is or where it came from, they just know that it has something to do with Ireland and everyone knows that the Irish drink to excess, right? (Typical British propaganda. To quote my colleague, I spit on them!) So idiots go out and get drunk and wear green and carouse like there's no tomorrow. And nobody cares to know what it all means.

They don't realize that not too long ago it wasn't anyone who could wear green. They don't realize that being Irish has nothing to do with drinking distilled spirits and everything to do with defying injustice. I walked past some department stores a day or two ago and saw trendy distressed material t-shirts being sold displaying such edifying slogans as "Fight Me, I'm Irish" or "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" (for the ladies, of course) Horribly, these bear uncanny resemblance to Olver Cromwell's view of Ireland. To him, the Irish were backward, savage barbarians with loose tongues and looser women, good for a laugh and some sport, if you were lucky.

No one's going to market a t-shirt that says, "Respect Me, I'm Irish", and that's a pity. Ireland's story is one that supposedly appeals to America's love of the underdog that loves freedom. Even if that story ultimately ended in tragedy, there are people and places that should be known and talked of today that will never be celebrated. Oliver Plunkett, Joseph Marie Plunkett, Red Hugh O'Donnell, Hugh O'Neil, Eoghan Ruadh, and Robert Emmitt. Men who gave their lives for their country and their God because of the man whose day it is, St. Patrick. Today is the day we remember a country remained true the truth and faithful to the faith through hundreds of years of brutal repression and suffering. Today is the day we take out our penal rosaries and remember, when we look at the cross what it was to be Irish. To live and die for the One, True Faith and to live and die with a smile and a jest. We remember this today because of one man's perseverance in the face of an impossible task. Without St. Patrick, the Church would lack the incredible story that was Ireland for 1500 years. As the saying goes, when he came to Ireland there was a devil behind every blade of grass; but when he died, they had fled and angels had replaced them.

So when you wear green today, remember that it was a forbidden color because it was for St. Patrick. By all means, go to parties, celebrate with all your might, because we're Catholic, and that's what we do. But don't forget to pray for Ireland--in gratitude and joy for what she was, begging the strength for her to weather her current troubles, and in the hope that she may once more reach a pinnacle of holiness and become again the land of Saints and Scholars.

St. Patrick, pray for us.


The consumate socialist?

Hugo Chavez thinks that Jesus Christ was a socialist. You know, he's not the first yahoo to propose such a thing, and he's just a crazy (well, maybe a little more so) as all the other ones. Praytell, if Our Lord were a socialist...if God decided that Socialism were the way to go...why on earth does the seventh commandment exist? If everything belongs to everyone, yours is mine is yours, doesn't that make stealing kind of pointless? If that were the case, genorosity and liberality would not be virtues any more than avarice and envy would be vices. If you want it, take it. Personal property? Who says? Truth be told, I think Senor Chavez forgot that depriving the working man of his just wages is a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. God does not take personal property lightly, not deny man's right to it. Ha! I'm fasting (kind of) for St. Patrick's eve. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the point is, since someone decided we're not eating St. Patrick's Day dinner until Sunday. Hang Lent, we're Irish! We can celebrate St Patrick on his feast day! But I'm not in charge.


Just so you know...

Rumor has it that Cap is not really dead, but in critical condition on the Raft, an instalation of some kind. Can't really verify this as I have no money or access to the source material, but there you go. I feel a little better now. To think, I wouldn't have even known about this whole thing if Catherine hadn't brought it up... Someone's probably going to take over his role until he recovers/resurects. The whole thing stinks of free promotion for the Captain America movie. :P

Mad Dog!

I have discovered that all I need to do to make our dog go crazy is say "bubbles". It goes something like this: "Bubbles, Marvin!" (He jumps and lolls his tongue and wags his tongue) "Bubbles, Marvin!!!" (He spins around and prances in front of me) "BUBBLES, MARVIN!!!!!" (At this point he takes off in all directions simutaneously, crashing into things and rolling his eyes around creepily. I'm no Pavlov, but I think I may be onto something.) I know I'm not that far into War and Peace but I think I can safely say I like Dostoevsky better, as a writer, anyway. More on this when I finish, but for those of you who haven't read Crime and Punishment, what are you waiting for??? As for Le Morte D'Arthur I feel so disillusioned. I mean, I assumed with the whole chivalry thing that these guys would be pretty cool and honorable and whatnot; but they're all jerks. Lancelot, Galahad (whenever he decides to show up, he's taking his sweet time) are the only exceptions. And Sir Tristan (as in Tristan and Isolde) is the worst of the lot. I can't stand him.


nothing pleases (or interests)

I thought a dead captain America would provoke some commentary. Apparently, something far more drastic has to shake you out of your laziness. Unfortunately, I have nothing more to offer except that my favorite character in War and Peace is Napoleon. I have to go make dinner out of diet's tricky. And I just got back from tennis, where I've managed to claw my way out of the C-team onto JV. Adieu.


the last best hope... dead. Yes, they've killed Captain America. It upsets even me, and I've never read a comic book in my life that wasn't old and distinctly somebody else's. I'm not sure what it means, but I'm willing to bet it does not bode well.


lovely, just lovely

So our elected geniuses over at good ol' Foggy Bottom decided that one hour less sleep was just what the doctor ordered. Somehow, the fact that I will be up an hour earlier, turning on the lights an hour earlier, and turning on the microwave, coffee maker, and goodness know what else is going to save us a lot on energy. Pardon me if I feel confused...I'm not feeling particularly more energetic at the moment. In fact, I feel quite lethargic. Daylight savings is one of the stupidest ideas anyone has ever had. Ever.


Chernobyl Ride

This is a photo journal by a Russian woman named Elena, about a ride she took on her Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle through the ruins of Chernobyl. There's something unsettling about the landscape, and the total emptyness of the city and its surrounding villages. Everything, the amusement parks, the office buildings, the farms have been deserted for 18 years, leaving a weird time capsule of Soviet Russia. She says that tourist companies have tried to host tours through the safer areas, but would turn back after 15 minutes, their customers complaining about the deafening silence. Link

movie review

Man am I in a good mood. I couldn't post for a couple of days, (seriously, the computer was inaccessible in a major way) and then I get back and there all these COMMENTS!!! life is good.

My sources tell me that I have been causing Fr. Barry consternation by not disclosing my views on the Prestige. So here goes.


Very much, in fact. I was so excited after seeing the first time, I was bouncing off the walls with anticipation, waiting to watch it again the next weekend! Oh, it was amazing. I can't wait for the good Father (Barry) to post some insights and whatnot so we can all talk about it forever. Oh my. It really is one of my favorite movies ever, and it was so much better the second time! I can only imagine it gets consistently better every time you watch it. Little things one catches...oooooh. So exciting. I don't know if I want to say too much specifically, in case some innocent soul has not seen it yet. Don't want to spoil anything.

Update on War and Peace! I am disgusted by the fact that the stupid editor of my copy took it into his head to change all the names into their Anglicized versions. What was he thinking?? Andrei sounds soooo much better than Andrew, Nickolai is better than Nicholas, Pyotr is better than Peter, so on and so forth. It's unbelievably aggravating. I think I've gotten to the point in Russian literature where the nicknames really don't phaze me anymore. I mean, it's just like calling me Cathy or Kitty (Kitty only if you're a cute little kid) or calling a James Jim or Jimmy or calling Mary Polly for heaven's sake. So I'm used to Dmitris being called Mitya or Mitenka or Mitushka, or Alexeis being called Alyosha or Alyoshka. Comes with the territory, they love having multiple names. It's cool!


okay then

It has come to my attention that my loyal reader(s) wish(es) to have a dissertation on the spiritual state of orcs. I'll do my best. I'm inclined to think they do have souls, since they can talk and interact...but do they have free will? Doesn't look like it, since they seem unable to make a decision based on anything except self interest. So maybe when they're created (how are orcs made? out of some primordial stew? does sauron just snap his fingers and made more out of thin air? they die off really fast, so how do the goblins in the misty mountains keep reproducing? spores?) their minds are twisted so that they are literally incapable of evincing any virtues. Ouch. In which case they are not responsible for their actions, so maybe they can't go to hell. And since I can't imagine them appreciating Heaven, I think we'll just have to trust that Illuvatar (sp?) knows where to put them. Apropos of nothing, do orcs die of old age? Well, that's enough of that. I am currently recuperating from my American Literature test, for which I produced a record eleven pages of writing. Seton leads the way, all the way, Hoorah. War and Peace is picking up the pace...lots of war, not so much peace. And I'm almost through with The Crusades (written by the love of my life) so at last I'll be able to say I've actually read something by Belloc.


Ay Caramba...

See, this is why I hate posting every day. People feel like they don't need to comment anymore and then I feel totally unfulfilled. It's so discouraging to come here every day and see "Comments:0" I have found that refraining from television brings not only gobs more time, but also lowers my blood pressure. Nightly News is just a bad idea; even without the news I still know that people are dying every day in Iraq (and probably most other countries of the world, but never mind) and Afghanistan, that the government generally tries to take more money than it should and is mostly bureaucratic and incompetent, and that everybody who's anybody hates Bush. Wow! Why is it called "news" again? The hard part is not watching 24 and LOST while they're airing...have to wait for Sunday. But even that I'm getting used to. The first day of fine weather here in quite a while means that tennis practice will actually take place on tennis courts. How exciting; we will be able to desisist (I hope) running up and down stairs in the stadium and performing other heart racing activities. I watched part of the 1/2 hour news hour, which was disappointing. They're trying to be funny, but the weird thing is the news they're "reporting" should probably be better known, not just comedy fodder. That, and it was just a little over the top. But then most fake news shows are, I guess. But when I agree with them in principle, it makes me cringe...whereas when I disagree, I get to guffaw because they're so stupid. OH WELL.


new week

I heard that the Patriots are letting Corey Dillon go; which I'm not that upset about. Last time I watched him go, he looked more like he was walking around rather than running around. I started War and Peace last week, hoping against hope that I'll finish by Easter...I'm told that it's not likely. We'll see. Yesterday I discovered that hauling lumber is not my calling in life--my hands are a wreck. I am at a loss for words, but I did promise a certain someone that I would write every day. It's harder than it looks!


check out them jaws

So I watched Jaws for the first time a week ago...all very scary until the shark jumped onto the boat. At that point, I lost all my fear and wonder; it became more of a "what was THAT?"

For some reason, I find the concept of a man eating shark much scarier than man eating anything else. The Ghost and the Darkness is one of my favorite movies of all's tense, but doesn't scare me. Maybe because lions don't live in the Pacific Northwest. Not that sharks do either...but still. They're so creepy! You can't see them and then they're right on top of you and they have such HUGE mouths!!!! (see above) They just look evil. At least you can tame a lion and it can be a big cat.


The Damosel Savauge

If you haven't gotten around to reading the actual Le Morte D'Arthur, relying instead on the paltry substitution of a child's picture book...hop to it. Honestly, it is one of the funniest and most entertaining pieces of literature I have ever read, and also has helped me correct my uninformed views on many of the knights of that Table Round. For instance: Gawaine used to be my favorite (not sure there was any particular reason), but now I find that he is a particularly disingenuous, whiny, and annoying specimen and am thoroughly disenchanted. On the other hand we have Launcelot, whom I have always dimly regarded as a disreputable and unsavory ladies' man (again, can't say why, exactly). Turns out that he is crazy good at being a knight errant, no power in the 'verse can stop him when it comes to jousting; far from being a ladies' man, he is currently the only one who consistently leads a chaste life (Galahad has yet to show up); and he is the only one who fully understands the obligations of marriage! He's kind of matter of fact about being in love with Guenevere...just something he lives with. He's majorly cool.

The picture is of a knight named Beaumains and his awesome travelling companion, Linet. She cracks me up, and for her caustic wit was given the soubriquet "Savauge Damosel". She kind of spent a lot of time making fun of Beaumains, but I was okay with that, seeing as he was annoyingly full of himself, and none too virtuous. Linet also happens to be one those rare damosels who actually has a personality and isn't in a state of distress 24/7. Refreshing...since most of the rest of the non distressed damosels were up to no good.