The Grapes of Wrath

Well, in high school this was another one of the books that I had to read but didn’t get all the way through  (the read the beginning, skim the middle and read the last chapter method). So I finally got around to reading it all the way through. It is the novel about the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. It is also widely considered to be on of the main reasons that Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize.

The Grapes of Wrath is the story about the Joad family as they travel from Oklahoma after being kicked off of their farm. They pack up everything and travel to California a place that is billed as having jobs. This is the hope that they have. The Joad family meet some interesting folks on the road.  Eventually they get involved with the labor union movement. It is  a compelling book and if you haven’t read it yet go out and pick up the book.

 

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Native American Mascot controversy debate part 11

There has been some news for better or worse in the Native American naming controversy debate. Yesterday it was announced through Major League Baseball that the Cleveland Indians will be removing Chief Wahoo from the uniforms and hats that are used on the field. However the Indians will retain the trademark and still produce gear with the Chief on it. So it’s sort of a step forward, although it seems like the change was mostly made in order to get the All Star Game to come to Cleveland, the first time since 1997. Now will this massive shift stir more cries for the Redskins to drop the name or even the Atlanta Braves, Florida State University Seminoles and Kansas City Chiefs to drop the Tomahawk Chop or what not. Sure this past December Rising Hearts made some big news with the website/twitter campaign that said that the Redskins would be changing their name to the Redhawks. Sure the Chicago Blackhawks are also considered offensive but since it is an ice hockey team there never has been much outcry over the name.

While it is nice to see some movement on this issue I hope that we don’t eventually drop all mention of Native peoples from society since we shouldn’t forget about our past however dark it might be.

Transfiguration

The fourth Luminous mystery is The Transfiguration, it can be found in all of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36), and it also is mentioned in Peter’s  second letter(2 Peter 1:16–18). This is the time when Jesus, Peter, and the Sons of Thunder (James and John) go up a mountain many scholars point to Mount Tabor others think that the location is Mount Hermon. Well, on the top of whichever mountain it was Jesus began to shine, and then Moses and Elijah appeared  and spoke with Jesus. At the time Peter said “Let’s put up some tents” to keep this experience going forever, but before they get anything done the voice of God was hear saying “This is my (beloved) Son, with whom I am well pleased,  listen to him.” The fruit of the mystery is the desire for holiness. This is a great message that we need to take with us as we go into the week and prepare ourselves for the upcoming season of Lent. We hear God saying Listen to Jesus for so many this can only happen in brief “mountain-top experiences” but we need to remember to listen to Jesus while we are in the valley since God is with us through thick and thing see that Footprint in the sand poem. We need to be more open to seeing the Lord in our lives even when we are in the valley and plains,

2017 in film

On Monday the Razzie nominations came out and on Tuesday the Oscar nominations came out. These awards will honor  the Best and Worst in film in 2017. We will start with the Best.

Oscars
Best Picture we have nine nominees and they as follows, with a brief plot overview of sorts.

Call Me by Your Name
 – coming of age in the 80s gay romance, Drama
Darkest Hour
 – The early days of Winston Churchill in WWII
Dunkirk
 – The Battle of Dunkirk evacuation
Get Out
 – A black man visits the family of his white girlfriend at their home, the housekeeper and groundskeeper are black and act strangely.
Lady Bird – Coming of age in the 2000s daughter/mother relationship. Comedy
Phantom Thread
 – London’s couture world in the 1950s
The Post
 – The struggles to publish The Pentagon Papers by The Washington Post
The Shape of Water
 – A mute custodian befriends a secret merman at a top secret government facility in Baltimore in the 60s
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
 – A mother who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter’s unsolved murder, it’s a black comedy.

 

One of the best things about the awards in general this year is there are going to be many first time winners. All of the Directors, 4 of the five Supporting actors/actresses, and 3 of the five best actors and actresses. It will be hard to predict the Best Foreign film since the film that won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice is not nominated. Coco should win Disney/Pixar yet another Animated Feature Oscar.

On to the worst The 38th Golden Raspberry Awards. It’s been a rough year in film as there have been a bunch of poorly received films. For Worst film it is between Baywatch, The Emoji Movie, Fifty Shades Darker, The Mummy and the latest Transformers movie. This is a four horse race, sure Baywatch was a bad film but it wasn’t/isn’t the worst. The Mummy seemingly killed the whole Universal Monster movie universe, Fifty Shades was unfortunate and so was Transformers.

 

Proclamation of the Kingdom

The third Luminous mystery is sort of a big mystery as it doesn’t point to one specific place in the Gospels but can be found in all of them. Many like to point to the Beatitudes as a classic example of the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” This is something that is at the heart of the Papacy of Francis and he illustrates it in his life it is simply humility.  Humility is something that the world need a lot more of it is one of the greatest virtues. As Confucius said “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” Let us all in this week try and be a bit more humble. Now the fruit of the mystery is Trust in God and a call to conversion. When we look at conversion our minds turn to changing religions but this is a more general sense of the word as we should all be converted daily and try to become better than we were the day before, by eliminating our bad habits and what not. Let us all be converted into better followers of Our Eternal Father.

NFL Playoffs 2017 (Championship)

On Sunday we have the Championship games for the AFC and NFC. It starts on CBS at 3 eastern time in New England where Tom Brady and company are going to try and win another Championship (10) this is their seventh consecutive time in the AFC Championship game. New England is playing at home and they will face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are looking to win their first. Everyone has to be thinking that the Patriots are going to win given that, but maybe Jacksonville can eek out a win. These teams met in the first week of the Preseason and Jacksonville won but who really knows.  After this game is over on FOX the NFC Championship will begin at 6:40 or so eastern time in Philly where the Eagles will face off against the Vikings. Both of which have made it to the Super Bowl in the past but have not won The Big Game yet. It has been 40 some years since the Vikings have won the NFC Championship game while it been only a dozen years for the Eagles. As for predictions I would love it if the Vikings win on Sunday and become the first team to play the Super Bowl at their home stadium. Minnesota also had one of the strongest defenses all season and we all know that Defense wins Championships. As for that other game It would be amazing if Jacksonville could win but I think we all know that New England will be winning number 10 and going to yet another Super Bowl.

NBC Olympic coverage

At a press conference yesterday to outline the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic in South Korea, NBC has made a big step forward. They announced that for the first time since 2010 folks living in the US will be able to watch an opening ceremony live. Now, South Korea is 14 hours so it will be difficult since that means that they would start at 6am on the east coast, so it won’t be live on air on regular television. Yet NBC has announced that it will be streaming the opening and perhaps the closing ceremonies live through NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app though you will need to be a cable subscriber of some sort to be able to stream it. With the next three Olympics (2018, 2020 and 2022) all taking place in Asia (Korea, Japan, China) perhaps they will figure out how to perfect it before the 2026 games in Los Angeles, which I hope they broadcast live. They also announced that Katie Couric will be coming back to co-host along side new lead Olympic host Mike Tirico. This will also be aired in Primetime in an edited form. One of the biggest differences from past coverage as it  will be live cost to coast when it airs for the first time ever I think. Looking forward to these Olympic games in February.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary film about the African American Experience in America. It is based on the James Baldwin unfinished novel, Remember This House, which was a manuscript which contained the personal recollections of Baldwin on civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Now this should be a film that everyone goes out and watch or it should be added to like high school history classes. It could help kids figure out how broken the world still is even though “we solved racism” by electing President Obama. Racism will exist for awhile longer, but I believe that Rodgers and Hammerstein were right in their song You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught “that it’s not born in you, it happens after you’re born.”

The film itself was rather interesting as in most history classes that I’ve taken you hardly get to the Civil Rights era or they gloss over it talking about Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Act of 1964 in like the final weeks of class. So it was nice to learn a bit more about these figures Evers, Malcolm X and MLK. It is available to watch on PBS until the end of the month so make some time to watch it.

The Wedding at Cana

The second Luminous mystery is the first Miracle of Jesus, it can be found in the Gospel of John (2:1-11).  Mary, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding, some speculate it was some relative of Mary, and the wine runs out.  Mary tells Jesus “They have no wine” at which Jesus replies “Aw Mom, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come”. Mary turned to the servants and said do whatever he (Jesus) tells you. The servants filled barrels with water and brought it to the chief steward and remarked that usually you have the good wine first, but this is some good stuff. The fruit of this mystery is to Jesus through Mary and the understanding of the ability to manifest-through faith. As we go throughout the rest of the week let us all remember the words of Mary to the servants “Do whatever he tells you”. We need to listen to what’s being said and act on it, we can’t be pussy-footing around doing nothing, there are things to be done and we should do them.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today in America it is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,  a day of service but to many it’s just a federal holiday. Sure we all know the I Have a Dream speech, but there are several other sermons and speeches that should be remembered as well.  In one of his earliest recorded sermons was one from 28 February 1954 at the Second Baptist Church in Detroit is entitled “Rediscovering Lost Values.” It seems like it could have been written recently especially with “There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to mind.”  He says that the problems lie in the hearts and souls of Men (and women). “We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. ” In this sermon MLK points out that to go forward sometimes we need to do backward to do so, using the story of the finding in the temple as Mary and Joseph went back for Jesus in Jerusalem instead of continuing home. So perhaps our current state is the only way for us to move forward as a nation.

Sure this points toward the general idea that we need God, with so many irreligious in the younger generations (Gen X, Y and Z) this continues to be a struggle we face today as well. We all need to return to some religion or some other moral guidelines to show us how to behave and how to interact with others. If you’ve got some spare time today perhaps read through this sermon or some of the others.