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The Culture of Death, Part 3-

Sorry! It's another political post. As I say below, I was inspired to write this by our readings at Mass these past two weeks. They were almost scarily relevant.

Before our current president (I suppose we must call him that) took the oath of office, I had a brief conversation with a friend. “Young women I know are in tears,” she said to me. “I can’t understand it. I think it has to get worse before it gets better.” At the time, I was rather shocked and startled, but I’m starting to agree with her.

It’s not that Trump isn’t awful. He is. He is even worse than I imagined he would be, and the appearance of Swastikas on public property is absolutely chilling. All the bullies, racists, and neo Nazis seem to have been greatly encouraged by recent events. And yet- Read more...Collapse )

The women's marches-

I know nine women who marched on Saturday, and I ended up joining a small local march myself. It was a beautiful experience. Now we have to find a way to stay united and keep pushing for a humane and civilized world. Here's a short film I took.
Ah, technobabble! You’re happily watching some science fiction show or movie, and some character comes out with a string of incomprehensible syllables. For example:

“Captain, the phase inverters have reached 2000 degrees kelvin. If we don’t reverse their polarities, they will implode!” (* Please note: I made up that example on the fly. I think it’s nonsense even for technobabble.)

“Huh?” you say to yourself. Then, if the writers have done their job, you’ll either say to yourself, “Oh, I see. Their engine is overheating, and they need coolant,” or else you’ll just ignore the technobabble and focus on the story. If, however, the writers have not done their job, you will get annoyed.

Of course, each reader, writer, and viewer has a different tolerance for technobabble, and a different idea of what might make it especially good, or especially bad. I’d guess that, for most of us, it’s usually especially bad. Can there be a way to write it well?

I think there might be. I’m going to preface this by saying I have no desire to feed the flames of the Star Trek versus Star Wars arguments. I like them both. To be absolutely accurate, I am a passionate Niner, love the original Trek, like Next Generation, and also like the first three Star Wars movies. It’s quite possible to love both Trek and Star Wars. It’s also quite possible to get annoyed by technobabble in both franchises!Read more...Collapse )

The Culture of Death, part 2

If they do these things in the green wood, what will they do in the dry? (Our Lord Jesus Christ)

I went to a funeral a week ago exactly. It was for a good friend of one of my aunts, a woman who was also a friend of my parents'. A brilliant Indian summer day; a little wooden church by the sea. The woman whose life was being celebrated was a WWII vet, so she received military honors. Read more...Collapse )
Like millions of my fellow citizens, I am going to vote in a couple of days. A priest in a church I visited said a couple of very wise things about the election. He said:
1. There is no candidate who truly represents Catholic social teaching and/or the morality of the peoples of the book.
2. Our fellow citizens, whomever they support, are not the enemy. They are our countrymen and women, and our brothers and sisters. Read more...Collapse )

Another Sunday Poem. )

I thought this one up on a walk my sister and I took round the pond. A cool, breezy day, and the colors were beautiful, but there were still some small red dragonflies zipping around, as well as bumblebees after the asters and other fall flowers. One dragonfly seemed to be going along with my sister for a little while; he actually landed on her thumb!

Dragonflies follow you
as though you were at once
shelter and larder;
as though you held
in your cupped hands
the waters of their birth.

Visual Dare-Encroach

Here is another short short story inspired by one of Angela Goff's visual dares. The picture I was responding to follows the story. Comments welcome!

Visual Dare; Encroach:
Everyone else had their eyes covered, and some were carrying slices of onion. Nadia refused. She had no intention of hiding. One of the boys next to her actually had an old-style gas mask that might have belonged to some English or German great-grandfather, and he made to hand it to her.

“Take it! You’ll need it if they start spraying tear gas.”

“Not if. When,” a granny walking behind her muttered. Nadia shook her head at both of them.

“I’m not afraid! Thank you, but no.”

The boy shrugged and dropped back behind her. As Nadia strode on, the granny reached up and patted her shoulder. “Brave girl! Is it your first time?”

“Yes.” Nadia felt her breath catch in her throat, for she saw the soldiers in front of her, by the wall. Her soldiers. Her people. Would they really fire tear gas, and worse? Would they shoot at peaceful protestors? Well, and if they did? She’d come here for a reason, and that reason was peace. She wouldn’t let soldiers stop her.

She lifted her chin, tossed her long, blonde hair over her shoulders, and strode forward.

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It's the writing! (a belated movie review)



(Mowgli faces Shere Khan in the new movie)

That was going to be “It’s the writing, stupid!” Not that any of us is stupid! But, when we see a film, how much thought do we give to the writers? I finally want to rave quietly about the recent Jungle Book. There was so much about that film that was excellent! Many people have pointed out many of these things: the excellent animation, the child’s performance (which, okay, had its rough spots, but which was generally completely natural and believable), the voice cast, the music, the pacing, and so on. Only a few people that I know of mentioned the writing. And it is the script all these other things depend on. You could have fine actors, excellent animators, good musicians, excellent sets and camera work and so on. Yet, without a solid story, you could still have a bad movie.

Now, I’m of the generation that remembers the “original” animated Jungle Book. And I’ll tell you something. When I saw it as a small girl, I liked it. I even liked it a lot. I didn’t love it, and that’s because I knew and loved the book. The cartoon simply wasn’t anything like the book. The new movie does justice to the book, as well as the cartoon.

For the new movie has three sources. They are (1) the Disney cartoon. I don’t honestly remember it well enough to say how good an adaptation of the cartoon this new movie is, but others, who remember it better, proclaim this adaptation is very good and faithful. (2) the stories Kipling wrote. I loved how Kipling’s actual text was used in the film – more on that below. (3) Finally, there is real science; the actual natural history of Asia.

The filmmakers, including the writer, succeed in melding these three things into a classic coming-of-age tale. Read more...Collapse )

Visual Dare-Hesitation



This is one of Angela Goff's VisDares, and I gave it as a writing prompt to the writing club. Here's what I came up with.

Isn't it strange? Those were the letters I pulled from the scrabble bag. Exactly those. I took eight, instead of seven, and then I just stared. It was like the angel Gabriel speaking to me. I froze.

"What's the matter, Grandpa?" Mercy said.

Joe said, "You've got an extra letter."

"So I do. So I do." I took the "t" from "wait" and put it back in the bag. Then I set the other letters face down on my rack. "Just a moment, children. I'll be right back."Read more...Collapse )

A Poem for Fathers' Day

This is another result from a prompt in writing club. My sister liked it, and thought I should share it with family and friends, so I'm doing so.

Claddaghduff
(For my grandfather)

By the ocean
The horse races,
His shoes striking
Wet sand.
Shells gleam
In the sunset.
The strand shines.
An old man,
Astride,
Reclaims his youth.

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