No, I didn’t give up the internet or blogging for Lent. I might as well have, though, right? Eh. It’s not like there’s no one else out there opining or sharing or venting online.
Plus the narrative out there is so very strong, I’m having to think long and hard how to navigate it and carefully say things that really need to be said. But we’ll see.
We had a snow day last week and another this week.
There you go.
I get it. Last year’s snowcapolypse (sp?) was a nightmare, happened in a matter of hours, and was absolutely unexpected. It was nothing to laugh at. But it made everyone exceedingly skittish around here, so this year, at the slightest hint of a system over Texas, we get all proactive and everything shuts down. We went out late yesterday afternoon to shop for some clothes. The roads were wet but clear..and almost every store in both major shopping centers near here were closed.
Hopefully, next year, the pendulum will swing back.
One of my favorite Loyola Classics titles is Things as They Are by Paul Horgan. If you don’t know about Horgan – go read this. He’s probably one of the least-known double Pulitzer Prize winners out there. He wrote both non-fiction and fiction, much of it centered on the Southwest, although Things as They Are is reflective of Horgan’s childhood in Rochester, New York. His non-fiction is primarily historical – it’s what he won the Pulitzers for – and get this – the fellow never graduated from college.
That title was suggested to me by George Weigel, who wrote the introduction. It’s an episodic, quiet, but ultimately hard-hitting (I think) coming-of-age tale.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a volume that collects three shorter novels of Horgans – it’s called Mountain Standard Time . I read the first, Main Line West, and it’s very good. Unusual and evocative, it’s about a Kansas woman, living with relatives, who is courted by a traveling salesman, marries him and is abandoned when she becomes pregnant. What intrigued me about the plot was the turn in which the woman becomes a traveling evangelist. The story of where that takes her and her son, and the eventual tragedy – based, as Horgan says in his afterword, on an incident he had witnessed as a child during World War I – is startling. I recommend!
Last weekend, we had 7 basketball games in the course of 72 hours. I didn’t mind it too much – basketball games are short – especially when the quarters are 6 minutes long, as they are for the younger son, whose tournament represented the bulk of those games. One more game tonight – maybe two – and that’s done.
Better Call Saul is enjoyable. No, it’s no Breaking Bad. It doesn’t have the intensity or layers of that show (yet), plus, considering we know how Saul turns out, if the show stays in the past (and doesn’t eventually jump back up to post-BB Saul), there are no stakes at the core of it, since we know that Saul doesn’t follow the (faint) nudges of his conscience and find any sort of redemption. Yes, there’s lots of interest along the way, but that hope that everything will turn out that is the driving interest behind drama is missing.
House of Cards? Eh. I watched the first season, and then a few episodes of the second last year – but then it just got too ridiculous, I couldn’t follow (aka wasn’t interested in) the policy machinations, and – most importantly – lost interest because when every single character is immoral or amoral, there’s nothing at stake, and no real drama.
I watched the first episode of this season, and was sort of interested in Doug’s rehab and recovery, but am totally bored by the prospect of Claire fightin’ for her right to be UN Ambassador. There was a bit of an uptick of interest in the show from religious quarters this week because a couple of writers addressed a scene in which Frank Underwood spits at a crucifix. Can’t watch it anymore, these writers declared – it’s a deal-breaker. (And the threesome with his wife and the Secret Service guy wasn’t? I didn’t see that – just heard it was coming, and at that point, stopped watching. Ew.) I haven’t watched that episode yet (maybe I’ll dig it up, maybe not), but it seems, from what I have read, that that scene is perfectly consistent with the Underwood’s character. It’s not a sympathetic person doing it – it’s a murderous (literally), horrible, evil guy. Evil people spit on Christ, and then walk away – figuratively and even literally.
Speaking of the Cross…
John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross, published by Ave Maria Press. This, again, is available as an actual book and in a digital version, in this case as an app. Go here for more information. (The illustrations are by Michael O’Brien)
A few years ago, I wrote a Stations of the Cross for young people called No Greater Love, published by Creative Communications for the Parish. They put it out of print for a while…but now it’s back!