Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Flaming June

Frederic Leighton, Flaming June, 1895
I simply love looking at this gorgeous painting, the fresh and beautiful young woman, and thinking about the wisp of dazzling vista presented tantalizingly behind her.

What we lose track of in Exodus

The stories of the plague of Egypt, and the other wonders and miracles which preceded the Israelite break-out, have so dominated our reading of Exodus that we sometimes lose sight of the sheer physical fact of the successful revolt and escape of a slave-people, the only one recorded in antiquity.
Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sita Sings the Blues



This is a creative delight. The Indian story of The Ramayana is told three ways, all from Rama's wife's point of view ... the titular Sita. An illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets is interspersed with musical interludes voiced with tracks by 1920's jazz singer Annette Hanshaw and scenes from creator Nina Paley's life. You can stream this movie free on YouTube as the creator, unusually, makes it available under a Creative Commons License.

We watched this way back in 2010 after reading Roger Ebert's 4-star review. It introduced us to Anette Hanshaw's music and the Ramayana, though we had no idea what that was.

Having now watched so many Indian movies we thought we'd rewatch it and see how it held up. We still found it delightful and now had a further frame of reference, having come across so many movie shortcut references to celebrations of the Ramayana. To the point when Rama goes after the golden deer, three of us exclaimed, "That's why there's a deer!" At which point our oldest daughter, who hasn't seen nearly as many of these movies as we have, shot us a look that made us realize just how deep we were diving.

We also could appreciate the intermission and the fact that there were so many song and dance numbers, albeit Annette Hanshaw and not Indian music. Clearly creator Nina Paley knew her way around a Bollywood movie or two.

It's not perfect and the modern day story is not that interesting, despite the parallels. But the three shadow puppets retelling the story, correcting each other's versions, and commenting on the classic tale more than made up for other imperfections. It was great the second time around.

It isn't a Bollywood film, but if you want an easy to understand, entertaining version of the Ramayana, this is it. Many of the pantomimes at religious festivals featured in movies will be much clearer!

Arrrr Mateys! It's The Pirates of Ersatz on SFFaudio

We discuss one of my very favorite humorous science fiction books - The Pirates of Ersatz by Murray Leinster. Episode 535 of SFFaudio.

Spit of Land

Remo Savisaar, Spit of Land
Click on it to see the photo larger ... I love the way the water moves and the sun hits the trees.

O Lord Jesus, let me be your lute.

O Lord Jesus, I surrender to you all my will. Let me be your lute. Touch any string you please. Always and forever let me make music in perfect harmony with your own. Yes, Lord, with no ifs, ands or buts, let your will be done in this family, for the father, for the children, for everything that concerns us, and especially let your will be done in me.
St. Jane de Chantal
I especially like the lute imagery with God choosing the string of my life which he'll blend in harmony with the others with which he plays a symphony. Beginning with my family.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Hannah & Rose discuss evil corporations, sadistic security systems ...

... and why you should be suspicious of all your married neighbors as they watch Resident Evil (2002). Episode 43 of More is More, a bad movie podcast.

Plum and Birds

Plum and birds, Emperor Huizong

The Bible is a work of history

The Bible is not a work of reason, it is a work of history, dealing with what are to us mysterious and even inexplicable events. It is concerned with the momentous choices which it pleased God to make. It is essential to the understanding of Jewish history to grasp the importance the Jews have always attached to God's unrestricted ownership of creation. Many Jewish beliefs are designed to dramatize this central fact. The notion of an elect people was part of God's purpose to stress his possession of all created things.
Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The whole purpose of sacrifice ...

Isaac was chosen as the offering not only because he was Abraham's most precious possession but because he was a special gift of God's under the covenant, and remained God's like all the rest of his gifts to man. This underlines the whole purpose of sacrifice, a symbolic reminder that everything man possesses comes from God and is returnable to him.
Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

The Joyous Festival

The Joyous Festival, Gaston La Touche
via J.R.'s Art Place

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Red Junglefowl

Illustration of male and female Red Junglefowl
A main ancestor of our modern chickens which is still found in India and Southeast Asia.

Theology is about happiness

Theology is never reducible to the utilitarian function of apologetics. Theology is about happiness. Happiness is as much in the intellect as in the heart, and it stems from understanding the truth about ultimate things, and being headed in the right direction, being oriented existentially.
Thomas Joseph White, OP, The Light of Christ

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hand coloured photographs of 19th-century Japan

Hand colored albumine prints – a process which used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper – taken around 1880.

Here are a couple of my favorites but be sure to see all of them at The Public Domain Review.




Faith in Action: Pro-Life Women Deliver Semi-Truck Full of Supplies, $72,000 to the Border

The #BottlestotheBorder campaign ... collected more than $120,000 worth of supplies and donated more than $70,000 in aid funding to multiple respite centers, where migrants who are legally in the U.S. are temporarily housed and cared for while they connect with family members and figure out their next steps.

A fellow church-goer of one of ATTWN staff members had heard about the initiative and, as the owner of a trucking company, offered to drive an 18-wheeler to the border for the group, Johnson said. The catch: the truck had to be full.

“We did the first registry and filled that up in a couple of days, like in 48 hours it was full,” Johnson said....

“By the end it was completely packed full of supplies,” Johnson said. [...]

The politics behind the border crisis are frustrating to Johnson, she said, because they often dehumanize migrants and distract people from doing something concrete to help the situation.

She said people have asked her if her efforts to bring supplies to migrants means that she supports an open-border policy. She doesn’t.

“No I don’t support lawlessness, I don’t support an open border, I support legal immigration, doing it the right way, but the bottom line is I don’t have the answer, I don’t know the answer,” she said, “but I can deliver these wipes so that babies’ butts are clean and they’re not getting infections. And I know how to make sure that a baby can get fed, and that’s really what this is about. And that’s what it is to be the Church, to meet the needs that are right in front of us.”
Absolutely. There's a lot more to the story. Read it at National Catholic Register.

Scott and Julie go on vacation to a land of heart-shaped flowers, adorable war rhinos, and magical technology.

We discuss Black Panther — a good movie about a good man with a good heart who discovers it is hard for a good man to be king. Get it in Episode 211 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Jury Duty Today!

Fingers crossed I'll be back soon, but in the meantime I'm off doing my civic duty at federal court. Later gators!

UPDATE
I wasn't selected from the 70 person jury pool for the 2-1/2 week criminal federal trial. Whew! Though it sounded as if it would have been interesting.