NFL Season begins

It’s the 100th season of the NFL and boy are they missing out on a huge idea that they could have done. Way way back in 1994 the NFL was in the 75th season and everyone team had a throwback uniform and wore it at some time during the season. I haven’t heard of anything other than the giant NFL 100 logo that is going to be everywhere this season. Over on Uni Watch, Paul Lukas thinks it might be due to the NFL rule about wearing one helmet for the season.

The season begins with the oldest rivalry in the league the Decatur/Chicago Staleys/Bears playing the Green Bay Packers. It dates back to 1921 when the Packers join the league. Unfortunately, the Bears do not play the Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals who also joined the league 100 years ago. Over the season there will be 16 games to honor landmark events. I am sure there will be some other remembrances throughout the season of the special events that have made the league what it is today.

On to predictions. Will the Patriots be in the Super Bowl again or can some other team get there in the AFC?

AFC East: New England has a pretty easy path to the playoffs and Tom Brady retires
AFC North: It’s been Steelers/Ravens for years but lots are on the Browns bandwagon
AFC South: With Luck out of Indy it’s pretty open Houston or Jacksonville maybe?
AFC West: Kansas City has won the past three years maybe Joe Flacco and the Broncos

Pats/Steeler/Ravens/Colts/Texans/Jags/Chiefs/Denver

NFC East: Dallas won last year but no teams has repeated since the early 2000s so Philly
NFC North: Not expecting great things here maybe the Lions, Vikings, Bears or Packers?
NFC South: Saints or Panthers
NFC West: Seattle for sure and I expect to see the Rams fail to repeat as NFC Champs.

Eagles/Cowboys/Saints/Panthers/Seahawks/Rams/Lions/Vikes/Bears/Pack

 

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The Right Stuff

With all the excitement with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon along with the National Geographic Channel making a new miniseries based on the book, which they plan to release in 2020. It was time to read the book, I’ve seen the movie before and have been a fan of outer space since I was a kid. So Tom Wolfe’s book on the beginnings of the American Space Program focusing on the Mercury Program.

Tom Wolfe begins the book with the test pilots at Pax River and Muroc, later Edwards and Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier. Next the Soviets send up Sputnik and that kick starts the whole space race with the formation of NASA and selection of the Mercury 7. It’s a fun read as it covers all the ins and outs of the training and missions

Apollo 11 (2019)

Another big Documentary Film this year is Apollo 11, it takes the raw footage of the launch and mission from NASA itself and creates the documentary. In this film from CNN we watch as the mission goes up into space and it is pretty unique that I think that NASA and CNN could do this with all the other missions. If you are a fan of Outer Space pick up this film at least once and if you don’t want to go out and find it CNN will be airing it on June 23 and again on July 20. Will this be the film that wins Best Documentary in the upcoming Oscars, that seems possible yet we are only halfway through the year and there are bound to be other documentaries released before the end of eligibility for the year.

Go Space out and watch it. It’s a cool movie and since July 16 marks the 50th anniversary of liftoff what better time to watch it. I am sure that various places will be showing this film this summer from the local museums to maybe an outdoor movie showing under the stars.

This post has been updated fixing a previous error and adding another date on which CNN will be broadcasting it.

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

In the fascinating documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, from Peter Jackson dives deep into World War I.  This is a topic that as an American I am not that on top of since the United States wasn’t really as involved in this one so it’s typically glossed over in history classes so as to get to the second one. This was a wonderful film that colorized a film of soldiers and looks at the brutal nature of the war. It also has narration from WWI Vets recalling the events. This seems like the odds on favourite to win an Oscar for Best Documentary at the 92nd Oscars, if it’s eligible.

As today is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing it felt that mentioning these heroes fighting men from the World War who gave of themselves so that we all could live. If you haven’t had a chance to see this film I know it had a brief run, it is worth the time to go watch it.

Christus Vivit

Pope Francis recently released the Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit from the synod on the Youth. It is rather long document consisting of nine chapter which are made up of around 300 paragraphs and took me awhile to get through it all. This is a long post and I hope that it breaks down this monumental text as it is something that needs to be read by everyone.

It starts with Pope Francis giving an overview of whats to come he addresses not only young people but all people and that he is going to sort of summarize the proposal the final Document from the Synod that he considers most significant. The first chapter just goes through the Bible and points out like every time youth or young is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Pointing out some of the many young in the Bible from Joseph, David and others. This continues by puling some of the many great quotes from the classic like the humble oneself like the little children. In the second chapter the focus is put on Jesus noting that we hardly get anything from when Jesus was a youngster, we go from the Presentation in the Temple to the escape to Egypt to the finding in the Temple then time passes and it’s the Baptism. It also goes on to talk about Mary and “young Saints” from Saint Sebastian to Blessed Chiara Badano. Sure, the Church has had it problems with trying to address the young along with the problems with the sexual and financial scandals that have plagued the church in recent years.

Turning to the third chapter the Pope points out that the young are not just the future of the world but also today. So many in the world tend to ignore what the youth are saying, just look at the US and gun control after two decades of school shooting and nearly nothing has changed. Pope Francis goes on to say that the concept of youth doesn’t exist and there are “only young people, each with the reality of his or her own life.” From here it shifts and looks at the various difficulties that these young people face including the digital world; a glance at sex even mentioning homosexuality and gender identity; Migrants and their upheaval; finally a mention of the sex abuse crisis and the goal of ending all forms of abuse. Subsequently, Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio/Apostolic Letter on abuse which basically says report the crime when it happens and puts in provision for what to do with bishops as well. This section end with a bit about how there is a way out, pointing to the Venerable Carlo Acutis who said “everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies”.  Francis hopes that we don’t let that happen to ourselves as we need to live in community.

The fourth chapter Pope Francis pulls out three great truths to keep in mind. First off God loves you “Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved.” This even means that even if/when we argue with God we are still loved. The second thing is that Christ has saved us because he loves us. The Cross and Crucifixion are the biggest signs of love that we have and there need to be more mention of this, it’s like the footprints in the sand poem. Finally that Christ is Alive. Christ is alive and still in the world seeking us all out we just need to be open to be able to find him. Here, Pope Francis mentions the Holy Spirit who is always there with God and Jesus, and who according to John Paul II is what keeps the Church forever young.  The Fifth Chapter is about the myriad paths of how the young people can experience the world, take it by the horns and run with it. However we need to remember that God is there for one to turn to in the sorrow and disappointments in our lives but also in the joys. Friendship and community engagement are also key aspect in the section. Our faith life isn’t supposed to be a once a week thing but we are tasked each week to go and proclaim the good news to the world.

In the Sixth Chapter we look at roots. This starts with the simple request Don’t become shallow. As Francis said in Panama at World Youth Day “care for your roots, because from the roots comes the strength that is going to make you grow, flourish and bear fruit.” Now what are these roots it’s your parents and grandparents, and even more so others as well as wisdom is passed down from generation to generation. At the Synod “one of the young auditors from the Samoan Islands spoke of the Church as a canoe, in which the elderly help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead.” This is what Society needs for the young and old to come together and become the change that we want to see in the world.

In the seventh chapter we turn to Youth Ministry, it starts with the general notion that it isn’t the adults who are the ministers but the young people themselves. Youth ministry needs to address the problems that they face but not solve them and be flexible in the world today. There are two things that are needed outreach and growth, we need to be more open to whoever want to come to whatever type of event and hopefully they will enjoy it and join. In college I was involved in Campus Ministry and we’d have a dinner after the 5pm Mass on Sunday that was open to whomever wanted to come and there’d be a wide variety of events throughout the week from just hanging out and having lunch with friends to intramural sports or going out to laser tag along with the more religious events like a weekly rosary night or a Bible Study or small group faith sharing. This is something parishes need to do offering a variety of events at times when people can attend them. A couple of parishes around me over the summer put on musicals with kids from high school open to all those in the area.  These are examples of things that seem to work. You know “Preach the Gospel at all times use words sparingly.”

The eighth chapter focuses on Vocations, now this isn’t about becoming a priest or a religious of some sort although it does come up at the end but the general sense of Vocation we all have to do something from the simple friendship to the more complex in love and family but also that of a job itself we all need something to do in out lives and shouldn’t be sponges off others. I enjoy that Pope Francis understands where the world is today and that “sometimes you have to accept whatever is available, but I ask you never to give up on your dreams, never completely bury a calling, and never accept defeat. Keep seeking at least partial or imperfect ways to live what you have discerned to be your real calling.” In the final chapter we look at discernment as we need to take some time to make decisions and it is only through discernment when we as the Holy Spirit to help us to figure it out in solitude and silence. Pope Francis end this Exhortation with a request “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.””

The Fall/ La Chute

During Lent I was reading The Fall (La Chute) by Albert Camus it is considered by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre to be “perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood” of Camus’ works. This is the last complete work of fiction by Camus and was published in 1956. There are bound to be spoilers.

The book itself is sort of like a stream of consciousness but it is the main character talking to the someone so a dramatic monologue. I fond it a bit difficult to get into the book as Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a judge-penitent who spends his time at Mexico City a bar in Amsterdam. The judge has a sort of fall from grace echoing the fall of man. One day while walking through the canals of Amsterdam he hears a woman on a bridge and he passes her then hearing a splash continues on his way. After this Jean-Baptiste ignores it for several years, then on day he is back on the bridge she jumped from and hears laughter but Jean assumes it must be laughter from somewhere else. If finally come to ahead as he is stuck in traffic behind a motorcycle that stalled and is pushed to the limit and starts questioning if he is a good person for not stopping. Since “people have decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity.”

This seems like a theme in the book looking at society and religion and how “God is not needed to create guilt or to punish. Our fellow men suffice, aided by ourselves.” This is the world we live in devoid of God one could argue that we fall every day as Sarte put it “Hell is other people” through our actions and non actions we define who we are. As Jean-Baptiste wishes in the end to do over that time in his life to act and save the girl and therefore saving himself as well.

At least that what I got in my first read through of the book, perhaps in a couple of year in a re-read I’ll get something else out of this book.

2019 NHL Playoffs begin

It started yesterday with half of the games starting and continues today with the others.

In the East we begin in the Atlantic Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of the Presidents’ Trophy taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tampa Bay won all three games during the season, but winning the Presidents’ Trophy isn’t the best indicator of success in the playoffs as in the past decade only 1 team has managed to win both, the Blackhawks in the lockout in 2012-13 season.  In the next game out of the Atlantic it is the Boston Bruins playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston took three of the four games during the season, and this is a rematch from last year when the Bruins advanced in seven games, however Toronto has won eight of the previous 15 playoff match ups. Over in the Metropolitan Division we’ve got the Washington Capitals playing the Carolina Hurricanes. Washington took all four games during the season. In the other game we have the New York Islanders facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They split the games during the season. This is the fifth playoff meeting between the two teams with New York winning three of the past four, they last met in 2013 where the Penguins won.

In the West we begin with the Central Division with the Nashville Predators facing the Dallas Stars. Nashville won three of the five games during the season. The other pair is the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues. The Jets and Blues tied overall during the season 99 points with the Jets winning three of the four games during the season. Out in the Pacific Division we have the Calgary Flames matched up against the Colorado Avalanche. During the regular season the Flames won all three games they played. The other series is San Jose Sharks facing the Las Vegas Knights, this is a rematch from last year where the Knights won in six games. They split the regular season meetings.

It is pretty cool that five of the match ups are for the first time in the playoffs. A lot of people are saying that the Lighting are the team to beat in the East while in the West it could just be about anyone.

First round predictions: Tampa Bay wins and will play Toronto in the second round while the Capitals will take on their old Coach and the NY Islanders. Over in the West Nashville will be playing the Jets and Calgary will see the Sharks in the next round.

NCAA Final Four National Championship game

The College Basketball season is over and boy were the last couple of games exciting on both the men’s and women’s side. We knew we’d see a first time winner on the Men’s side and there was plenty of excitement the tournament. On Saturday we have The University of Virginia get fouled on a three down two with .3 seconds left after leading by about ten, the University of Auburn overcame that and it seemed like they would be going to be Championship game. However, Kyle Guy from UVA hit all three shots on that foul to be up one and go on to win. Sunday in the Women’s Championship game we had a similar moment as Notre Dame was on the line with the chance to tie but missed one of the shots and lost to Baylor by 1. Monday night Texas Tech and UVA played a very close game we got to overtime in the Championship game for the first time since 2008 and the Virginia Cavaliers almost lost it in regulation but took home the trophy. Many are talking about the shock of how they were the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed last year and this year they come out and win the National title. It’s pretty cool and all you can say is “Wahoowa”

2019 Baseball Season begins

Well, technically this is a week overdue as there were two games this year in Japan where Ichrio Suzuki and the Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics in both of those games then the legend himself, Ichrio, retired from baseball in a fitting manner. Then a week went by with no real games and now it’s time to play ball.

As the season begins we say farewell to Chief Wahoo in Cleveland who has been pushed to the sidelines although die hard Indian fans can still get him if they look for it. This season marks the 150th anniversary of professional Baseball with the founding of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The Reds will be breaking out 15 different throwback uniforms this year ranging from 1902-1999. The season also has games played in Monterrey, Mexico; London, England; Omaha, NE; and Williamsport, PA. That is ten games at different locations so it is pretty cool.

It’s a bit too early to make any real predictions about what’s to come at the end of this season but it looks like the NL East is going to be tough with the Nationals, Braves and Phillies all upgrading this off-season. Teams look good on paper but who knows what that means in real life.

That Hideous Strength

In the third and final entry of the Space Trilogy, That Hideous Strength subtitled A Modern Fairy Tale for Adults we stay on Earth for the entire book. This book is about the same length of the first two books, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra combine. Once again I found that this book is appropriate for reading in the Lenten season as it deal with good and evil. Lewis puts it nicely that “Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.”

This story picks up after the Second World War around 1948 or so at Bracton College in the University of Edgestow, where we meet one of our two main characters a fellow of sociology at the College named Mark Studdock, the Fellows of the University are meeting as the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments (N.I.C.E.) wants to buy some of the land that the College owns which includes Bragdon Wood, which is an ancient woodland believed to be the resting place of Merlin. After the deal is agreeed upon Mark is asked if he would want to take a job at N.I.C.E by Lord Feverstone, we later learn that he is Dick Devine from the first book. Our other main protagonist is Mark’s wife Jane Studdock is a PhD student at the university who is having dreams, Jane and Mark are in a rocky spot in their marriage. One of Jane’s former teacher’s wives Mrs. Dimble, having been evited from her house since the sale,  suggests that Jane go to St. Anne’s to talk with a Miss Ironwood about Jane’s dreams. At this point the book shifts between these two stories with Mark working for N.I.C.E and Jane working with those at St. Anne’s.

It is in St. Anne’s where we find another familiar face as Ransom the main character from the first two books is now the Director at St. Anne’s  or the Pendragon. Ransom surmises that the dreams of Jane are clues to help win the day that those at N.I.C.E. are looking for Merlin to be resurrected and hopes that he’s on their side. Although the same is true with those at St. Anne’s. It is cool to see Merlin and the Arthurian legend being brought into modern times.

This book was difficult for me to get into as the first couple of chapters seem to be about College politics and that but once we get to NICE and St. Anne’s it get a bit easier to follow. Some say that this book is flawed as there are too many deaths and characters. While it is a bit different from the other two book being set on Earth I think makes the deaths and abundance of characters seem real, as Earth or Thulcandra is the realm of the bent Oyarsa. If you liked the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid these three books might hit the spot as an adult.