News Roundup

Netflix: A Trailer has been released for Gilmore Girls if you haven’t watched it what are you waiting for. There is still some time to catch up on the previous seasons before the release in November.

World Series: Typically to go along with the World Series we have a couple of articles about the Mayor or Governor and Senators wagering something against their counterpart in the other city.  This time around the Governors are betting pizza and beer from Chicago and mustard and beer from Cleveland. While the senators are just wagering some beer. However this isn’t the only bet Rabbis from Chicago and Cleveland have also placed a wager, and the losing Rabbi will travel to the winner and have a debate on the Jewish significance of baseball.

Inventions: This sounds like an interesting invention and hopefully it works and can lessen the impact of emissions on the atmosphere. Dutch scientist have created a giant vacuum that sucks out contaminants from the air creating fresher air. This seems like the way that the world will be moving towards if this invention is a success perhaps every one will own one and help offset the carbon emissions that we all make during the day, think of it as something like carbon offset. It could be a game changer


Marialis Cultus

Marialis Cultus is an Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Paul VI about Marian Devotion. Now this is a letter to all the Bishops of the World in a reflection of how Vatican II goes with Mary. This letter is divided into three sections the first looking the history of Marian Devotion focusing on the relationship between the liturgy and devotion to Mary, the second looks at ways to develop as well as renew Marian devotion for the future, the third section take a look at the Angelus and Rosary as methods of devotion that we should use. This is followed by a conclusion which basically says Mary deserves the devotions because she is the mother of graces and her unique role in redemption. As well as that devotion to the Blessed Virgin is an intrinsic element of Christian worship and devotion is paramount importance in living the life of the Gospel.

Part One:  In the first section Paul VI looks at the Roman Calendar and the Missal noting all the dates and mentions of Mary in the liturgy. He also looks that the Lectionary and the Liturgy of the Hours and how tied to Mary these are as well. Paul VI notes that if one studies the history of Christian worship, in fact, one notes that both in the East and in the West the highest and purest expressions of devotion to the Blessed Virgin have sprung from the liturgy or have been incorporated into it.” The second section looks at Mary’s role in the liturgy as a model for us all. Saying that this modeling of Mary has been one of the longest living traditions in the Church.

Part Two:  First noting that in Vatican II the exhortation came out to look at other forms of piety. Here we get into some hard stuff as Paul takes us into the Trinitarian, Christological and Ecclesial notes of the Virgin. These Marian forms of piety need to be “To Jesus through Mary” as we use her as our conduit to Jesus. This section is a bit heady to read. The second section doesn’t make it much easier as it takes the devotion of Mary and roots it in the Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical and Anthropological. These is not putting Mary in a box as across the world there are devotions to Mary in all different forms the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Akita, Our Lady of Zeitoun, Our Lady of Kazan, Our Lady of Walsingham. These are all around the world and Mary looks like the people in the area.

Part Three: This one begins by looking at the Angelus and says that we should be praying it more. Then it turns into a nice reflection on the Rosary. It explains a basic Rosary as it is a prayer rooted in the Gospel and consists of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Doxology. Pope Paul then pleads that the Rosary be taken up by Families and prayed together. As it is simple and everyone should know it.


World Series 2016

This Tuesday begins a match up a half-century in the making as the Chicago Cubs will be playing in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945 against the Cleveland Indians who hope to win for the first time since 1948. These are the two longest droughts in Major League Baseball (besides Washington which although hasn’t been since like ’33 didn’t have baseball for 30-something years) So by and large the Cubs are the Favorites and everyone is saying it is their year finally. Looking back over the year The Cubs went 15-5 against AL teams while Cleveland went 13-7 against NL teams yet just looking at this makes it rather difficult pick as they did not face each other at all this season in interleague play. The rematch will take place in 2018 at the earliest going by the existing scheduling rules when the same division face off between leagues.

The game is set and Tuesday can’t come soon enough for many fans. Either way this series goes it will be historic with an end to a historic World Series drought or the most improbable playoff upset since June when the record setting 73 win Golden State Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavilers in seven games. Finally the and games will be broadcast on over the air network, FOX. I really hope that Chicago can win out this year.


Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The week the reading come from Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; Psalm 34; Paul’s second letter to Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 and Luke’s gospel 18:9-14.

We have yet another parable this week it’s the pharisee and the tax collector, this is the one where the Pharisee and the Publican are at the Temple. The Pharisee goes up front and prays “Thank the Lord I’m so great, I fast and tithe unlike that tax collector over there, he’s so bad.” while the tax collector stays in the back and prays “O Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus then tells us that it is the Tax Collector went home justified. This echos the message from Sirach and in the Psalm The Lord hears the call of the poor for a prayer doesn’t rest until it reaches its goal. This is something difficult in society today as we are constantly bombarded with people and thing which want to put us on top, however we must remain humble in all that we do. We remember in Micah 6:8 we read the mission statement for all Christians “Live Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly with God“. Let us keep the idea of humility in our minds and hearts as the elections in the United States draw to a close.


Nintendo Switch

So this is less than a real post and more just an excuse to re-watch the launch video again. The next Nintendo system is going to be a hybrid system and some of the mockups were pretty close to thee tablet portion although no one got close to the base/dock. The system runs on cartridges and will join the home and portable market into one. As for more information about the system that wasn’t  revealed yet however this is just enough for right now. It whets the appetite for the March 2017 launch.


The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The Little Shop of Horrors is the B-movie that the musical Little Shop of Horrors is based. It is one of the first films Jack Nicholson was ever in as he was in several of Roger Corman’s other B-movie. According to Turner Classic Movies this film was made in the week between Christmas and New Year’s in 1959 and was filmed on the set of another movie, just redressed. Spoilers to follow.

The movie is set up completely different from the musical as in the film’s narrator is a police officer who worked on the missing person case. The other big difference in Seymour’s mother. In the film she is a hypochondriac and is missing from the stage musical.  The film begins in Gravis Mushnick’s flower shop with a bumbling Seymour and simple Audrey who work there. We meet three regulars the neighborhood funeral home owner? Mrs. Shiva who buys flowers daily, a guy who comes in and eats flowers for lunch daily and they get a call from the sadistic dentist who orders some flowers. Seymour messes up this order and Mushnick fires him but Seymour convinces Mushnick that if he can attract new customers by bringing in a new plant that Seymour has crossbred a butterwort and Venus flytrap, which Seymour calls Audrey Junior. We know where it goes from here Seymour accidentally gives it some blood and it perks up. Later on it starts talking and asking for more eventually this become people that Seymour feeds the plant with. The police come into the shop looking for any help in locating these missing people. Seymour is going to be honored by the Society of Silent Flower Observers of Southern California  when the plant finally blooms one evening and the faces of the missing people are in the buds and to everyone’s horror it was Seymour who runs out of the store and tries to escape the police. He eventually loses them and comes back to the shop where Seymour jumps in into the plant with a knife to kill it. That’s how the film ends. It is a different than the musical where everyone dies.

All in all it was an enjoyable film sure it won’t win any award being great but it was fun to watch especially at this time of the year when things turn toward the creepy and spooky. If you are a fan a Jack Nicholson this is something that needs to be seen at least once. TCM might play it again this month or you might have to wait till next year when the air it again.


News Roundup

Netflix: According to the letter that was sent to Netflix investors in 2017 they are planning to release 1000 hours of original content. This is a huge increase from the 600 hours this year. Hopefully it won’t be 400 hours of less movies available on demand. This is a large increase and is pretty amazing at how much stuff Netflix is making itself so it isn’t caught up in licensing fees.

Washington DC: The Constitution for statehood has been approved and now goes to the citizens of Washington DC to decide if they would like to live in the “State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth” or Washington DC. Although this is a better name for the state than the previous named New Columbia. If approved by the residents of DC it would then go to Congress to get approval, this however is the biggest hurdle as although it seems likely that the Democrats will get a bigger chunk of the pie in Congress so I’m not sure if both DC and Puerto Rico would both get in or if Republican would rather want to have at least one “republican” coming in as well or might they just want to add all six of the delegates to voting members of the house. This is an interesting aspect to watch in the upcoming election.

Politics: For once Trump has a good idea. Donald Trump is bringing up the idea of Congressional term limits 6 years in the House and 12 in the Senate. This seems like a smart idea as it is often seen as the weak part in the political machine in America as there is currently a member of the house who has been there for a half century and a member of the senate who has been there for 40 years. Now this isn’t the smartest thing as Congress itself would have to approve this legislation and it seems unlikely that they would approve something that would kick out about half of them from office.


Laetitiae Sanctae

Laetitae Sanctae is another one of Leo XIII encyclical on the Rosary it is like several of the others which are implore the praying of the rosary in October. Pope Leo notes that the praying of the rosary devoutly not only helps the individual but also but society as a whole as well.  His holiness goes on to say that there are three obstacles that arise in the world “first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.” These are tied to the mysteries of the Rosary.

The first, the distaste for poverty relates to the joyful mysteries where we focus on Christ as a child. So much of society says that we need to amass riches so we can buy this or that to become a better person and we should “work smarter not hard”. However it takes hard work to get rich. As we look at these mysteries we see “simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.” This is what we need to bring into the world.

The second, repugnance to suffering relates to the sorrowful mysteries where we focus on the Passion of Christ. It is sad that violence has become so pervasive that in just about every movie it seem features some horrible act of violence, or really just turning on the news we hear of some murder. Society as a whole has become desensitized to it even when most of us haven’t seen it in person we’ve all seen it in the movie and television programs we watch. Sure we understand that violence is bad but we often forget about the suffering and grief left behind. Yet we must remember the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps, as St. Thomas says in the gospel “Let us also go, that we might die with him” (John 11:16)

The third and last one, forgetfulness of the future relates to the glorious mysteries where the focus turns to the resurrection and life in heaven. All too often we look to the future and our own personal safety with a mix of materialism and nationalism. Here is where the problem arises the militarization of individuals to serve their nation, but at the neglect of the world as a whole. We are all in the same boat and the more people rocking it the sooner we will capsize. Pope Leo put is as we may doubt if “God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.” Let us remember the eternal banquet that awaits us all.

Pope Leo then talks a bit about Rosary confraternities calling them the battalions who fight the battle of Christ under the direction of the Virgin Mother noting the victory at Lepanto. This, the rosary,  is the Hope of the Church. Let us all take some time and pull out a rosary and pray it.


The Mirror (1975)

Zerkalo or The Mirror is a Russian Art-House film from the mind of Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a highly regarded film and the only reason I decide to watch it was that it was on the Sight & Sound poll in 2012. It you want to watch it right away it’s on YouTube and can be found pretty easily. Spoilers might follow, perhaps.

Now this film is a bit confusing as it is a nonlinear story told by a dying man sort of reminiscing about his life. There are three specific time periods in the film the man as a child prewar (1935), an adolescent during the war (40s) and post war when he is about 40 sometime in the 60s or 70s. These era are distinct and the film also switches between color, sepia and black and white throughout, perhaps like memories. It borrows heavily from Tarkovsky’s own childhood. I find the film to be a reflection on life as a whole, sure we have the Russian elements but there is the universal commentary on life itself. The title give us the most about the film it is a reflection of life so after you watch it multiple times will get something more out of it. Perhaps this is way so many people have liked this film for so long.   Perhaps Ingmar Bergman put it the best when he said “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.” Life is a dream and is a reflection of society as a whole. We are the mirrors for each other as we all put on our best selves for others this sound like something that Paul Dunbar says in his poem We wear the mask.

If you haven’t watched anything by Tarkovsky perhaps this isn’t the best film to begin with. I have heard Andrei Rublev and Solaris are also great films by Andrei Tarkovsky and might be better places to start as those film have plots and are coherent. However, I would highly recommend going out of your comfort zone and watching a Russian film.


Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week the readings come from Exodus 17:8-13, Psalm 121, Paul’s second letter to Timothy 3:14-4:2 and Luke’s gospel 18:1-8.

The main idea behind the readings this week is Perseverance. We are given several examples in all of the readings, First we have in Exodus the story of how Moses helped win the war against Amalek by keeping his hand up. In the Psalm we are reminded that our help comes from the Lord, Paul tells us to be inspired by the Bible since that is where Wisdom come from. Finally we have an interesting parable the Unjust Judge isn’t afraid of God or respected any person but this one widow continually came to the judge to ask for help. The judge continually refused but eventually he gave in and gave a judgement because he fears the widow many come and hit him eventually if nothing come of her repeated requests. This parable is often used to remind us of the importance of prayer in our lives for just as the judge eventually responded to the request of the widow so too will the Lord hear and answer our prayers. However, even when we are sitting there without hearing a reply to our prayers we need to remember to be like Moses and keep going for our strength is the Lord. We should keep this in mind when we are waiting for our prayers to be answered, to keep praying. Keep the faith even though the way we want our prayers to be answered may not be the way that the Lord will answer them.