Thursday, April 19, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Last Shot Boots and Dr. Pepper


Taken by my brother as he wended his way between Dallas and San Angelo. His visit over two consecutive weekends was truly a delight, all the more so since I hadn't seen him for about five years.

Lagniappe: The courageous heat of the stars

The waxing moon tossed a dull glow on the surface of the clouds, but it was the scattered layers of stars that held my attention. I looked at them and tried to feel the courageous heat of their battle as they fought against the natural state of all things in the universe: dead cold.
Craig Johnson, Hell is Empty
I just loved how this is put. It makes me think of Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy ... where it is very cold.

What We've Been Watching: Jumanji, Coco

Both of these movies were tons of  fun. They have solid moral themes, as we would expect considering their intended family/youngster audience, and make nice light viewing.


Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead trying to get back to his family while not relinquishing his dreams.
Coco is very enjoyable, albeit with somewhat simpler theme development than could be hoped for (a la Cars). Satisfying messages of love, family, memory, and loss are anchored in a love letter to Mexican culture, especially the Day of the Dead (Ray Bradbury would approve). It is a feast for the eyes as well as the heart. Don't miss it.


Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are sucked into the game, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. To beat the game and return to the real world, they'll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives and change the way they think about themselves - or be stuck in the game forever.
Welcome to the best possible version of The Breakfast Club. The performances from Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) and Jack Black elevate this beyond story gimmick to a level of real entertainment. Neither ever lets you forget the inner nerd or beauty queen who inhabit their unlikely avatars. If you've ever played a video game then you're going to enjoy this one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: An Elephant

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - An Elephant
I came across this in this great list of Rembrandt drawings which shows which major art pieces the sketches are thought to be associated with. Really interesting.

The elephant is on his own. Just a fun sketch with no painting done.

Lagniappe: Eccentric Houses

Houses, like people, are apt to become rather eccentric if left too much on their own; this house was the architectural equivalent of an old gentleman in a worn dressing-gown and torn slippers, who got up and went to bed at odd times of day, and who kept up a continual conversation with friends who no one else could see.
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Youngster

Remo Savisaar, Youngster

Well Said: The great democracy of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church was then, as it is now, a great democracy. There was no peasant so humble that he might not become a priest, and no priest so obscure that he might not become Pope of Christendom....What kept government alive in the Middle Ages was this constant rise of the sap from the bottom, from the rank and file of the great body of the people through the open channels of the priesthood.
President Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, 1913

Scott orders a tall stack, Julie orders corned beef hash. They both have seconds of sock juice.

That's because we're having Pancakes in Paris, the subject of episode 180 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast this week.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: Spring in Worpswede

Hans am Ende, Spring in Worpswede

Well Said: Private confession and the dignity of the individual

The practice of private confession also burned onto the Western soul a principle that is not native to the other influential civilizations of humanity: that the individual man, woman, or child is above the tribe, nation, state, and collectivity. Because men were willing to spend hours on end, in huge city cathedrals or tiny rural chapels, amid the coldness of winter and the heat of summer, attentive to the woes of both king and beggar, listening compassionately in order "to make known to his people their salvation through forgiveness of their sins, the loving kindness of the heart of our God who visits us like the dawn from on high...to give light to those in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death and guide...into the way of peace" (Lk 1:68-79), the concept of the dignity of the individual hit home. It because clear through this one-on-one dialogue that God, through his representative, loved each man as an individual—regardless of race or rank. ... all were equal as they waited for the sacrament, and if someone tried to alter this egalitarian state of affairs, priests were quite capable of calling the violator to order. One such incident from the seventeenth century occurred when a wealthy white lady in Cartagena, Colombia, jumped the queue, going ahead of a black slave, but found that it was all to no avail since the confessor, Father Peter Claver (1580-1654), insisted on hearing the slave's confession first.
William J. Slattery, Heroism and Genius
I really love this book although it is taking me a while to work my way through it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Weekend Humor: Affirmation

From Despair.com
I was pleased to see that Despair.com is still in there coming up with posters to define our lives. This one, from their 2018 collection, is practically perfect in every way.

Friday, April 13, 2018

More is More: Hannah and Rose discuss robot genomes ...


Hannah & Rose discuss fathers and daughters, robot genomes, and the warning signs that your boyfriend may be too into your age difference as they watch Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Another episode in the Transformers series from my favorite funny podcast. The movie is bad but Hannah and Rose are so good!

Worth a Thousand Words: Classical Paintings You Probably Didn't Know Had a Banana In Them

Mona Lisa with Banana, Evert Kwok
Here's one. Just because today's quote is banana related I went looking for paintings of bananas (of which there are lamentably few). But then I found these fun riffs on famous paintings and bananas by this clever cartoonist. Check it out.

Lagniappe: The way bananas divide us

No fruit's ripeness seems to divide people the way that of the banana does. And it is not simply a question of soft or firm. Oh deary me, no, nothing so straightforward. Within the boundaries of soft and firm are further categories, mostly easier to feel than to describe, where the exact level of ripeness becomes almost an art form. Even before we get inside, there are pointers, mostly to do with the level of mottling and about which some aficionados could probably write an essay, if not a short story. The feel of the banana (go carefully here) is crucial. It must yield like fudge, butter, or, for some, be only just short of a smoothie. Some take it even further: their fruit must be the right shape. For heaven's sake. It's a banana.
Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries II
Of course, then Slater goes on to say he likes his bananas almost crisp. So he would get along just fine with Rose and Hannah. Me, I go for some mottling so as to bring out the sugar. But we won't go on and on.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

BeGolden - The Creepy Feel-Good Campaign


What's this make you think of?

Maybe a Star Trek visualization of a disease that spreads by touch and turns people into something weird and leaves their world in a state of grim post-apocalypse?

A perfume ad? A fashion ad?


This is part of the same campaign. Maybe a new version of Goldfinger?

I'm leaning even more into the Star Trek disease that morphs you into another creature.

Wrong!

It's a new Dallas campaign to be nice to immigrants! Didn't you get that from the pictures?

I feel as if it might be a Catholic initiative (Pope Francis is mentioned), but to be fair, no one's claiming that.

They don't tell us what to do, though there is a hat we can buy (not yet, coming soon).

But we should definitely be nice. Probably a hug for our immigrants, right? Or maybe a handshake? Definitely some sort of touching based on those pictures, so I'm going with a hug.

That way we can all feel good about ourselves.

Though this strange Star Trek disease makes me really want to lean away instead of lean into the hugging.

Really super creepy. A weird campaign.

Worth a Thousand Words: Gold Mining

Gold Mining, Belinda DelPesco

Well Said: Maps to Mythic Places and the Transcendent

My mind wanders. Maps to mythic places are a metaphor for mankind’s brushes with the transcendent. They are mystical directions that point characters to things that are amazing yet true. They are communication from somewhere else to here, and the conduit is the mapmaker.

What does a person bring to one of these maps? Like the inspired writer of scripture, a person brings himself to the map, and with him comes the transcendent.
I'd never have made the connection between those maps (and who does make them? how are they inspired?), scripture and the transcendent. Worth musing about, especially for those of us who love stories that need maps to Skull Island or Barsoom.

From a piece by Scott Danielson musing on a story about maps, a magic shoppe, and bean counters who want to make myths efficient. Go read it.