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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Interstellar, Revisited

"We're just here to be memories for our kids." That's how I remember the line, anyway. And it hits me with so much power, because I completely understand what that means. I heard a friend of mine once apologize to his son for all his mistakes, and I'll never forget what the son said in reply: "I only remember that you loved me, Dad."

In the film, the powerful scene in Murph's bedroom is book-ended by an aged Murph answering the question of how she held out hope for so long: "Because my dad promised me."

Greydanus gave the film a mildly negative review, but describing it as having genuinely affective character development. You don't say!

It reminds us to be who we're supposed to be, relying on God's mercy for the rest.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Star Wars Is Better Than I Thought

I'm a Trekkie, always have been, always will be. But in light of the new Star Wars movie out, I have had a chance to watch the original trilogy, and most of the prequels, excluding Episode I. The thing that strikes me the most is the tragedy of the fall of Anakin Skywalker. We're supposed to like him, and we do. When the great Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi tells us Luke's father was "a great Jedi, and a good friend," that needs to have weight behind it, and I have to say, the prequels accomplish that well.

What that brings about is clarity regarding the end of Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. This is not a wholly evil, static character; this is a man in slavery to sin, and to the emperor. His gradual loss was subtle. It's realistic. It's easier to think evil people just are; it's more unsettling to realize becoming evil involves a series of little capitulations.

Just think: an entire civil war begins, because one powerful Jedi knight turns to the dark side. May we realize our noble calling, and avoid the same fate.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Momentous Birthday

It's my brother's 35th birthday. 3 years ago yesterday, we lost Jenny O'Reilly to leukemia. I didn't know her well, but I wanted to. She was the kind of person who inspires the fiercest loyalty, and it's entirely legitimate. Maybe only the good really do die young.

We should make a fuss about birthdays, as much as possible. Death is so capricious, you know. We may not get the chance. It's Jenny's birthday, too. Someone said she wanted to celebrate that one with Jesus. I wouldn't put it past her.

Heaven is the birthday party that never ends. End of discussion. Atheism sucks, for the mere fact that the pale shadow of things here is supposed to suffice. We know it won't. Sports leagues don't take years off, precisely because they are the closest thing to perpetual joy the human heart knows, outside of God.

Worth a thought.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We Used To Be The Smart Ones

Remember when "race-baiting demagogue" used to be Al Sharpton? Remember when we could credibly claim liberals were guided by emotion, instead of reason? Those were the days. How ridiculous and unserious does someone have to be, before we stop listening?

Somewhere, someone confused contrarianism with conservatism. As long as somebody appears to hate the "right" people, it's kosher. What?

There is always a market in the age of new media for a dissenting view. The trouble is, we've got to know the difference between going against the grain of the conventional wisdom, and going against reality. There will always be someone who disagrees with what "respectable" people say. The problem today is, we didn't assume that person was right, just because they exist, and now it seems we do.

I hear this chatter that we're going to "make America great again." America has been great this whole time. The people who made America great came to Ellis Island, and their kids fought back fascism in the second great war. They probably didn't speak English when they got here. I'll tip my cap, anyway.

Later, some folks fled communism, and America was still that beacon of freedom. Of course we have problems; there are always problems. But America's doors have always opened out. The blessings of liberty are not talents to be buried in the ground.

Don't give me star-spangled selfishness, and call it "patriotism." Don't make us fearful and miserly, and call it civic virtue. I'm still an American exceptionalist. It seems to me that some folks waving the flag are really pessimists and thieves. Liberty for me, but not for thee. What a shame! We can do better than this.


Sunshine On My Shoulders

I went to Mass this afternoon. It's cold today, but I was glad to go back. Between being sick, and the rain, I was only able to go when required. I saw some people, I prayed, and then as I stayed near the Lord for a few moments, a woman wished me a Merry Christmas. After that, she put her hand on my head as if to bless me--a completely Catholic thing to do--and said, "Thank you, Jesus."

Later, I walked over to the office, where I am creating the post you are now reading. The receptionist said to me, "You're always a ray of sunshine when you come over. I love it!" "Aww, thanks," I said, "you are, too!"

Lord Jesus, I give you the peace and joy of this day. Have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Happy Birthday, Dad

I wish you were here. I think you'd like my friends. I can hear you and John saying that a man with true friends can make it through anything. I try to be like you to this day. There isn't much I remember, but I know you're the kind of man who gets mourned by people you fired. You're the kind of man who makes mistakes, but gets second, third, and fourth chances, because people know a good heart when they see one.

I pray for you often. Funny thing is, in the Church, I feel closer to you each day. I think you might reconsider a few things, knowing what you know now. John said you thought church people were hypocrites and liars. I knew I'd find a place to fit in!

The pain is less now, because I've done everything you would have hoped. I hope I'm like you: a man people are glad to know. I don't wonder what you'd think, because I know. A son rests easy, knowing his father is proud.

You'll have to forgive me, though: I still can't root for the Dodgers.