Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A mysterious stranger brings Julie and Scott a copy of Ecclesiastes to read. ...

... Scott and Julie loved the "eat, drink, and be merry" part. The mysterious stranger eventually gave up on explaining the meaning of "chasing the wind" and shared their beer and nachos.

In Episode 273, we welcome special guest Tomasso Todesca to discuss The Book of Ecclesiastes and kick off Season 12 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.

Vorhor, the Green Wave

Vorhor, the Green Wave by Georges Lacombe, 1897

North of Pont-Aven, Lacombe found this dramatic crag overlooking the sea and rendered it even more spectacular with vivid hues of turquoise, mauve, and gold. He also anthropomorphized the rocks, finding human shapes in them, and transformed the waves into decorative patterns similar to Japanese prints.
I was struck by the bold colors and shapes but it never occurred to me to look for the human shapes and Japanese-style decorative patterns.

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Movie You Might Have Missed #59: Chuck Norris vs. Communism

It's been 11 years since I began this series highlighting movies I wished more people knew about. I'm rerunning it from the beginning because I still think these are movies you might have missed.

A documentary about the magic of film and the power it has to change lives.

As good as its name and you've got to admit it — that name is pretty darned good.

I had no idea that bootleg, dubbed video tapes were ever available in communist Romania. Certainly I didn't realize they were a widespread source of information about the West and inspiration for how life could be.

That's the subject of this documentary which is a well told tribute to the power of story as well as a previously untold chapter of the fight against communism.

Friday, January 14, 2022

January Calendar

I recently discovered the wonderful calendar designs by Theo van Hoytema and will be featuring them occasionally. This is from Wikipedia which says:

Theodorus van Hoytema, or Hoijtema (18 December 1863, The Hague - 28 August 1917, The Hague) was a Dutch lithographer, illustrator and graphic designer, known for his book covers and calendars; especially those depicting birds.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Seeing the light in all its purity and brightness.

When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ shall come, and, as the apostle says, bring to light things hidden in darkness and make plain the secrets of the heart, so that everyone may receive his condemnation from God, then lamps will no longer be needed. When that day is at hand, the prophet will not be read to us, the book of the Apostle will not be opened, we shall not require the testimony of John, we shall have no need of the Gospel itself. Therefore all Scriptures will be taken away from us, those Scriptures which in the night of this world burned like lamps so that we might not remain in darkness.

When all these things are removed as no longer necessary for our illumination, and when the men of God by whom they were ministered to us shall themselves together with us behold the dear and true light without such aids, what shall we see? With what shall our minds be nourished? What will give joy to our gaze? ...

You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of light which was sent through slanting and winding ways into the heart of your darkness, you will see the light itself in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this light that you are now being cleansed.
St. Augustine, treatise on John

When I copied this into my quote journal from the daily reading in the Liturgy of the Hours, my imagination was caught by all the aids we have on earth to help us get a glimpse of God. The idea of not needing them anymore was astounding, logical, and something that made the second coming seem a little more real, a little more like something I can grasp.

Today I read it with slightly different focus because my brother-in-law's funeral is this afternoon. It comes after a long battle with cancer so his death wasn't a shock. And yet since I've heard the news his voice occasionally sounds in my ears, with that kindly smile and flash of blue eyes. He's ahead of me on the journey. I like to think of his astonishment and joy at beholding the ultimate reality of Jesus, who I know he loves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Caesar at the Rubicon

Caesar at the Rubicon by Wilhelm Trübner, 1880.

How often any fond dog owner has seen this acted out! Certainly I have, most recently when the Christmas cookies were all on the sideboard and Jeeves, our male Boxer, had his eye out for opportunity! 

 I have seen the phrase about crossing the Rubicon before but never really knew what it meant. There's a whole article on it at Wikipedia, of course! So for anyone else who wonders, now we know.

Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon river on 10 January, 49 BC[1] precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Caesar's becoming dictator for life (dictator perpetuo) and the rise of the imperial era of Rome. Caesar had been appointed to a governorship over a region that ranged from southern Gaul to Illyricum (but not Italy). As his term of governorship ended, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome. He was explicitly ordered not to take his army across the Rubicon river, which was at that time a northern boundary of Italy. In January 49 BC, Caesar brought the 13th legion across the river, which the Roman government considered insurrection, treason, and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate. According to some authors, he uttered the phrase alea iacta est—the die is cast—as his army marched through the shallow river.

Today, the phrase crossing the Rubicon is a metaphor that means to pass a point of no return.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Movie You Might Have Missed #58: The Search for General Tso

It's been 11 years since I began this series highlighting movies I wished more people knew about. I'm rerunning it from the beginning because I still think these are movies you might have missed.

Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken?
This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.
Incredibly enjoyable. I knew a lot about Chinese food in America already and this still held my attention. When they did the profile on Springfield, Missouri's Chinese specialty of Cashew Chicken I knew these people had done their research. I spent many formative years in Springfield and you just weren't living if you hadn't had some Cashew Chicken recently.

It is just as described, delightfully insightful, bringing out all the important elements without dwelling on any of them so long that the story gets bogged down.

Monday, January 10, 2022

After Christmas

After Christmas” by Fritz von Uhde
via J.R.'s Art Place
Of course, it isn't really "after Christmas" until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. But Epiphany is when we take our tree down.