Silence (2016)

Silence is the Martin Scorsese film based on the Shusaku Endo book of the same name. I have previously written about the book and it bring out some big questions. Spoilers to follow. So I was looking forward to seeing a film adaptation of the novel. According to Wikipedia this film is the third in Scorsese’s trilogy of film epics about religious figures struggling with challenges to faith with Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun. Scorsese has said that the film is about “the necessity of belief fighting the voice of experience”.

The film follows the plot of the book but adds parts of the appendix to tell the whole story of Father Rodrigues.  We begin the film with news coming in about Father Ferreira (Liam Nesson) being lost, rumor has it he has apostatized. Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) are tasked with finding out if there is any truth to these rumors. Rodrigues and Garupe set off from China with Kichijuro (Yōsuke Kubozuka) a drunken Japanese fisherman. They arrive in Japan and the Padres minister to the Christians hearing confessions and celebrating all the other sacraments as well. This is the story of the hidden Christians of Japan. Eventually, the Padres are separated and both captured and forced to refute their beliefs and step on an image of Christ “Fumi-e”. The story is Father Rodrigues as we follow him as the Inquisitor tries to get him to deny his faith and using the other Christians that they captured and pawns to get him to refute as they would be set free if and when Rodrigues refutes his faith.

This would be a great film to watch during Lent or if you have some passing interest in Japanese history or religion. Sure people have compared it with The Mission but it’s a completely different story told a world away. This is a book that is a great read so if you watch the film maybe take some time and read the book as well.

Pearl Harbor

Today marks 75 years since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was a brutal day as FDR put it “a date which will live in Infamy.” This event has been made into numerous films, From Here to Eternity and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. The Smithsonian has an interesting story of that day and a Sikorsky JRS-1 a plane which the American flew to find the Japanese that day.  On the path to the USS Arizona Memorial there is a small plaque with a prayer/poem which Eleanor Roosevelt carried with her throughout the war.

Dear Lord,

Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

Silence; The Scorsese Movie (2016)

I really liked the novel by Shūsaku Endō so when I was reading I look and saw that Martin Scorsese had wanted to make this movie since the 90s. Scorsese was inspired by the book wanted to make a movie based on it.  The book is one of the best things that I’ve read in the past couple of years. Here is the first trailer.

Across the interwebs we have a bunch of reactions of this trailer and the funniest part is how many people are just watching it since it’s the next Scorsese film and have no clue as to what the film is about let alone have heard of the book. I will be going to see this when it comes out.

Ancient Rome News

Over this past week I’ve seen two stories relating to Ancient Rome. First was the discovery of a Chinese Skeleton in Roman Britain. The other was the finding of coins in Japan from Rome with images of Emperor Constantine I.  In all the history classes you hear about Rome and China and Japan as different civilizations and sure Ancient Japan and China most likely existed and did things in the same sphere of influence and perhaps something about the silk road linking them to Rome but you never really think about the two dealing with each other since they are so far from one another. So the news seems pretty cool. For the simple fact that people from China and Japan could have traveled to the Roman world and visa-versa. I never did much in Ancient History but if these things are true than the world has been a small place for so much longer than we have all realized.

News Roundup

Netflix: Cordcutting.com has crunched the numbers and Netflix subscriber saves themselves about 158.5 hours of commercials per year. By not having ads it is remarkable how much time that is. It is also that some cable networks are toying with the idea of cutting advertising time Time Warner tested this on TruTV in the fall. As many Millennials are watching less ads using DVRs along with streaming services to watch most of their shows.

Obama: This is cool news.  President Obama will become the first President to visit Hiroshima since the bomb.  This follow the lead of Secretary of State John Kerry who recently visited. Obama’s visit will be tied to the G7 summit in Shima, Japan at the end of May. This visit will as the White House press release says will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”.

Musical Theatre/Tony Awards: The Wall Street Journal sets out to answer what does an Orchestrator do. Sure they get a Tony but what for all to often it seems like whatever wins Best Score takes home Best Orchestration as well. The article seems to put it as they take the piano music that a composer writes and breaks it into parts for the orchestra in a way that helps the music support the singers. It is an interesting subset in the world of music and offers some understanding why sometime revivals sound different.

There are also reports that Tom Hooper will be bringing Cats: The Musical to the silver screen. How will this happen it still up in the air, and there are good reason to go in either direction CGI, live action, animated, puppets. Hooper who directed Les Miserables will direct and produce and it looks like the production will being in late 2017or 2018.

Space: This is amazing as it combines Space and Archaeology. A teenager from Quebec used ancient star chart and has discover a lost Mayan city. William Gadoury has been interested in the Mayan civilization since 2012 and wanted to figure out why the Mayans built cities in unlikely sites far from river and fertile land. As it turns out when placing the Mayan constellations over a map of sites they lined up. One of the constellations wasn’t complete and Gadoury scoured Google Earth and got the idea that he might have found the location of an unknown site. He requested the help of the Canadian Space Agency to get a better look at the location and the images have added weight. The only way to really determine if it is a site is to go and explore.

Godzilla (2014)

The American tried to make another Godzilla movie last year and sure it was better than the last one with Matthew Broderick in it but it still felt like too much was going on.

The film is essentially a reboot of Godzilla for Americans so it starts back in the 50s with the Nuke tests which kills a giant monster or something. We then skip forward to 1999 when Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) lives in Japan with his family and he runs a nuclear power plant and there has been some earthquake like things and so he sends his wife to check it out and she dies. We then skip forward fifteen years to 2014 and the focus changes to that of Joe’s son Ford. Ford is a Navy guy who lives in San Francisco and has just arrived back home when he gets a call to bail his Dad out of Japanese jail for trespassing in the “quarantine zone”. So Ford goes off to Japan and bails Joe out and Joe convinced Ford that they have to go to their old house to recover some data which he had printed out or something. They get captured by soldiers and brought to a secret facility, it’s the old power plant and after several power outages a gigantic MUTO appears it destroys the facility and Joe dies.

The Navy admiral who is in charge then explains that Godzilla is why the nuclear test happened in the 50s since they were trying to defeat Godzilla. The plot gets a bit weirder as the MUTO is actually echolocation and communicating with some other MUTO and it turns out that ones a male and the other a female and they are going to breed in San Francisco for some reason. Then Godzilla shows up  It’s not really explained very well, or perhaps it was while I was “resting my eyes”, since the movie is really long clocking in at over a half an hour longer than the original Godzilla.  So Godzilla fights the two MUTOs and eventually wins since it’s a Godzilla movie.

It was a decent film but as I said earlier it’s long. If you are a fan of Godzilla it’s a nice movie nothing great to write home about  but okay. If you are looking for something more like the original you will have to wait until Toho releases Shin Gojira, their rebooted Godzilla film they are working on which is expected to be released in Summer of 2016

Lesser known…

World Food Day: This is one of those UN Days this one is observed on October 16. This year the theme is Social Protection breaking the cycle of rural poverty. This is an important issue that we as the world need to focus on, since food security is a global issue.

Sweetest Day: In the Great Lakes region of the US on the third Saturday of October is Sweetest Day. It’s a made up holiday by the candy industry to increase sales of sweets, it’s basically like Valentine’s Day but in the Fall. So if you have some time grab some candy and give it to someone you care about this upcoming Saturday October 17.

Magdalene of Nagasaki (1611- 16 October 1634)
Magdalene was born to Christian couple who were martyred around 1620. When the Augustinians came to Japan she became a tertiary and served as interpreter and catechist for Fathers Francis of Jesus Terrero and Vincent of Saint Anthony Simoens. In 1632 they were both burned alive after this she attached herself to another pair of Augustinians, they to were both killed.  Magdalene then turned to a Dominican Giordano Ansaloni de San Esteban.  As time passed Magdalene eventually turned herself in, wearing her Augustinian habit, she declared herself a follower of Jesus Christ. At age 23, she died on October 16, 1634 after thirteen days of torture, suffocated to death by Tsurushi.

Blessed Kunjachan (1 April 1891-16 October 1973)
Thevarparampil Kunjachan was born into a Syro-Malabar Catholic family, not much is really known about his early life but in 1921 he was ordained a priest Kunjachan, is a nickname meaning little priest, Augustine just wanted to be a regular priest and was humble, kind, service-minded and charitably disposed to the poor and the downtrodden people. He worked with the Dalits (untouchables) and it is said that he baptized over 5000. Kunjachan preached using his actions rather than words this is something that we all need to do more of today.  For all of the talk about the New Evangelization that needs to happen with the Catholic Church this is the way that it needs to be done not through words but through actions.

Little League World Series 2015

Yesterday we had a record setting Championship game at the Little League World Series. This is by far the highest scoring baseball game I’ve ever watched sure the game is played on a smaller version of the diamond but 29 runs  in one game is remarkable. Once again Japan won the game but that’s isn’t that unusual as Japan and Taiwan have won a combined 27 time so it really isn’t that big of a surprise. Being such a high scoring game it was also pretty exciting game none the less with an offensive explosion in the first it was a close game even though through after the first it was 10-2 with Pennsylvania leading, by the end of the third Tokyo took the lead and never gave it back 13-11.

I am a huge fan the ESPN has done so much for this event as it has been airing the Little League World Series for my whole life and it’s been a wonderful way to cap off a summer. I think that it is wonderful for the kids to be just like their heroes playing on ESPN and it does help fill in that sports lull that is the summer when only two sports are playing games.

Lesser Known…

Lawrence of Rome (c. 225–258)
Lawrence was one of the early deacons in the Church among the seven under Pope Sixtus II. Widely believed to have been from Spain he was a close friend of Sixtus and about a year into the reign of Pope Sixtus II (257-8) Emperor Valerian issued an edict that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death. Sixtus was captured and killed, then the prefect of Rome ordered Lawrence to release the treasures of the Church to them, according to Ambrose, Lawrence set out to move the church’s wealth around he gave a bunch to the poor and then he gathered a group of the poor, crippled, blind and suffering. Lawrence brought them with him to the prefect and declared that these are the treasures of the church. It is rumored during this spreading the treasures of the Church around he sent the Holy Grail to Spain. As for his martyrdom, that is the best part of his whole story as he was burned on a gridiron, the legend goes on to say that at some point he shouted out “Turn me over, I’m done on this side” or something to that effect. This is why he is the patron saint of chefs and comedians.

International Lefthanders Day
This is observed on August 13 and is meant to promote awareness for the inconvenience that left handed people face living in a right handed world. It also celebrated the uniqueness of being left handed as they are about 7 to 10% of the world population. This event is also used to spread awareness of special needs of left handed individuals as they are far more likely to develop schizophrenia. So if you know someone who is left handed why not go out and buy them a drink.

Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia (c. 1589 – August 14, 1633)
Father Domingo is an interesting individual as he was a missionary Dominican from Spain who went out to the edge of the world to preach. Domingo went to the Philippines and was a missionary in Pangasinan.eventually became the professor of theology at Colegio de Santo Tomas, the catholic university and oldest one in Asia. It has been visited by four different Popes. In 1623 Domingo set off for Japan and he worked there for a decade offering comfort to the persecuted Christians there, as Japan wasn’t the friendliest place for Christians (Silence). So in 1633 he was captured and refused to renounce his religion. This leads us to a unique event as the beatification of Father Domingo was the first one ever to happen outside of the Vatican, this has become the standard.

Lesser Known…

August 6 will mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb upon Hiroshima and on the 9th the dropping on Nagasaki. This is marked with A-Bomb day and with a peace festival in Hiroshima. It is held at the Peace Memorial Park and at the ceremony victims are consoled and they pray for the realization of lasting world peace. I’m not sure if there are any victims of the bombings still alive today but in 1986 there was a documentary about the Hibakusha, those exposed to the either of the atomic bombs.If you have some time over this week it is an interesting subject and it’s a part that we typically forget about.

Porziuncola: This feast is celebrated August 2, and might as well be considered the high feast in the Franciscian year at it marks the first building that St. Francis rebuilt after he heard a voice telling him to rebuild my church.

Sithney: This is a great story not much is really known about Sithbey but was in Brittany(Brenton). According to one legend God asked Sithney what he wanted to be Patron Saint of and the Lord suggested being patron saint of girls seeking husbands, but Sithney said he would rather be the patron saint of mad dogs and get some rest. So it came to pass.