Faith, Family, and Work

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day last Friday caught my attention:  according to Rasmussen, 49% of voters say their highest loyalty is to their families.  Another 22% identified their faith as their highest loyalty.

That’s certainly encouraging.  In theory, my faith to Christ is my highest priority, although like many Christians, that’s not always the case in practice.  In practice—and in a practical, day-to-day sense—my family is my top priority, even if they’re an hour or two away.

The two, however, seem inextricably tied.  Some years ago I heard someone (probably Dennis Prager) say that the three keys to happiness are faith, family, and work (most likely in that order).  Faith in God gives us purpose (indeed, God gives us our Creation—our very existence).  Family gives us people who love us, those we support and those who support us in turn.  Work gives us a sense of accomplishment—the satisfaction of a job well done.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Young Frankenstein (1974)

I’ve been on a major Hammer Films kick, which means I’ve watched a lot of schlocky, exploitation-style horror films and black-and-white psychodramas over the past few weeks.  I’ve finally worked my way through every Hammer compilation and a collection of William Castle films, but I’m still in the mood for corny horror movies.

So, as I cast about for some appropriate Sunday evening viewing, I decided to watch one of my comedic favorites, Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974).

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Lazy Sunday XCVII: More Movies II: Movie Reviews, Part II

Last weekend I began looking back on some of my many movie reviews.  This Sunday I’m continuing that walk down movie memory lane with some more film reviews.

The flicks this weekend better reflect my cinematic preferences than last week’s crop; although I loved all three of those flicks, brainy sci-fi thrillers, vampire movies, and goofy buddy comedies probably sum up my movie-going Zeitgeist perfectly:

  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Archive (2020)” – This flick was a slow burn, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It’s the only movie I’ve seen (that I can remember) that depicts a robot experiencing jealously, loneliness, and isolation—and ultimately succumbing to her “robo-depression.”  Like any good sci-fi film, Archive explores questions deeper than its slick, futuristic aesthetics suggest.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Interview with the Vampire (1994)” – A modern classic, I believe this review was my 666th post.  *Shudder!*  It’s an appropriately demonic tale of vampires in New Orleans—a must-see flick set in the Anne Rice’s vampire universe.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)” – The new Bill & Ted movie isn’t a great movie, and there’s no consistent logic to the time travel depicted in the film.  But that’s okay—it’s a Bill & Ted movie, after all.  What the movie does offer is tons of warmth and fun.  I really enjoyed this little picture immensely.  It was refreshingly upbeat and wholesome in an age when such films don’t seem to be made anymore.

More movie reviews to come.  Keep on watching!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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The Joy of Romantic Music II: Bedřich Smetana’s “The Moldau”

Last Friday I wrote of the beauty and power—the sheer joy—of Romantic music, a topic I’ve covered once before on this blog.  In writing last week’s post, I noted briefly that Romantic music is nationalistic, which was certainly true in a number of cases.

Europe following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars was a hotbed of political activity and nationalist sentiment.  The Congress of Vienna (1815) redrew the map of Central Europe, reducing the hundreds of German principalities, bishoprics, duchies, baronies, and the rest into about a dozen political units, hoping these larger Germanic kingdoms would serve as a bulwark against future French aggression.  They did, and more—under the steady Realpolitik of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia gradually grew to unite these new lands into the Second Reich—a unified Germany.

Meanwhile, smaller nations chafed under Austrian or French influence.  Bohemia—now part of the Czech Republic—fought against Austrian political rule and the German language that came with it.  Bohemians championed the revival of their native Czech language, and began revisiting Czech folklore and music as the resting place of the national spirit.

This process was not unique to Bohemia or the Czechs, but today’s featured piece, Czech composer Bedřich Smetana‘s The Moldau, is a prime of example of how nationalist musical ideas can capture beautifully a sense of a place, while also transcending national identity and borders.

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TBT: Gardening

A post on gardening might be a strange pick for TBT in the dead of winter, but my mind has been on the topic more and more lately, both as a beautiful outdoor hobby and as a means of sustenance—even survival.  There’s also a spiritual element to feeling one’s own soil between one’s fingers.  I get a sense of deep satisfaction after pawing through the richness of my own land.

Perhaps I’m being overly Romantic, but planning and planting a garden is a wonderful experience.  I’m not very good at it, mind you (unlike my mother, who can make anything grow in any conditions, it seems), but I enjoy tackling the flower beds (just not enough to keep them free of weeds consistently).

As I noted Tuesday, I’ve become increasingly interested in investing in a solid cultivator and turning some my lawn into beds for vegetables.  A buddy of mine is keen on the idea, and has offered to help with his labor and some funds in exchange for a share of the crops (would that make him a sharecropper, essentially renting my land and giving me some of the fruits of his labor?).  I think it would be a fun, albeit time-consuming, project, but one worthwhile.

Another friend of mine has been slowly turning his postage stamp backyard into a thriving organic garden for years now.  He’s been growing without fertilizer so that the soil can build back up essential nutrients and fertility.  Apparently, fertilizer yields great resorts in the short-term, but it doesn’t help the soil replenish its fertility.  He’s taking the long, slow approach, but he’s gradually turning that Midlands Carolina clay into rich topsoil.

There’s so much I don’t know about this process, but at the same time, my thought is, “dig in.”  I already buried last year’s Jack O’Lanterns and seeds near my grapevines—why not?  Maybe I’ll get lucky and get some pumpkins.  Worst-case, my grapevines get some more nutrients.

Or it could all just be an expensive boondoggle.  We’ll see.  My results this past Labor Day weekend were pretty good, so I’m feeling optimistic.

With that, here is 2019’s “Gardening“:

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Lazy Sunday XCVI: More Movies: Movie Reviews, Part I

Way back in “Lazy Sunday LVI: Movies” I looked back on some movie reviews and posts analyzing movies.  That was long before I began Monday Morning Movie Reviews as a semi-regular feature on the blog.

Since then, I’ve dedicated more of the blog to discussing culture, especially music.  I’ve also written more about films and the cinema.  Even with large theater chains still closed and film-viewing shifting increasingly to streaming services, movies are still a powerful way to convey ideas and to shape cultural attitudes.  Indeed, I think the importance of film has only increased in The Age of The Virus, as we’re able to consume more and more of it in quarantine.  That our political elites have essentially recommended we just sit around watching television as some heroic form of self-sacrifice is suggestive—of what, I’m not sure, but it can’t be good!

Regardless, during this quieter, slower season, I thought it’d be fun to look back at some Monday Movie Reviews (to be be fare, not all of these were published on Mondays or in the morning, but they’re still movie review!—one out of three ain’t bad, to very loosely paraphrase Meat Loaf).

Here are three for your enjoyment:

  • Monday Movie Review: The Empire Strikes Back” – Seeing The Empire Strikes Back (1980) on the big screen reminded me powerfully just how great Star Wars used to be before the new trilogy ruined it with SJW nonsense and incompetent direction.  Empire is widely regarded as the best entry in the history of Star Wars films for a reason.
  • Morning Movie Review: Brazil (1985)” – This one had been on my RedBox wish list for some time, and I finally rented it on-demand back in October.  It’s a great, dreamlike flick about an excessively bureaucratic dystopia.  Brazil captures the thousand tiny tyrannies of bureaucratization beautifully—and scarily.  That we’re heading down a road towards mandatory vaccination passports and ever-growing globalist conglomerates suggests we haven’t learned the lessons of Brazil.
  • Movie Review: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)” – I stumbled upon this flick on Hulu, and it was one of those rare gems among the garbage that streaming service typically serves up (and yet, I continue to pay my $2.15 every month for the pleasure of streaming terrible horror movies and Bob’s Burgers).  It stars a very young Jodie Foster as a young teenager living completely on her own in a hostile New England town, attempting to avoid Martin Sheen’s inappropriate advances.  The film is a bit of a thriller, but also an endearing coming-of-age story in which the young Rynn—Foster’s character—learns that life isn’t meant to be lived alone.  As I wrote in the review, “It’s a lost gem, one worth unearthing.”

That’s it for this weekend.  Happy Sunday—and Happy Viewing!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

food snack popcorn movie theater

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Hammer Films II: Universal Horror Films, Part I

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Last April I wrote a detailed review (preview) of the Hammer Films Collection.  I’m currently making my way through Volume II of the collection, both of which feature Hammer Studios films that Columbia Pictures distributed.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to complete the second volume in time to review it today, but I will do so in a couple of weeks.  However, Christmas brought a bumper crop of films from the famous Hammer Studios, including a collection of four Dracula films distributed by Warner Brothers and an eight-film compilation of Universal Studios horror flicks.

I’ll be reviewing the first four films on the Universal Studios-distributed collection, The Hammer Horror Series, and reviewing the second four next Saturday. At the time of writing, the collection is only $17.21 on Amazon for the DVD ($34.99 for the Blu-Ray edition); at that price, I’d definitely recommend picking it up to enjoy these flicks yourself.

The collection includes eight films in total:  Brides of DraculaThe Curse of the WerewolfThe Phantom of the OperaParanoiacThe Kiss of the VampireNightmareNight Creatures, and The Evil of Frankenstein.  Today I’ll be reviewing Brides of DraculaThe Curse of the WerewolfThe Phantom of the Opera, and Paranoiac.

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The Joy of Romantic Music

This semester started with two weeks of online learning (of which today is the last day before students and teachers return to campus after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), so it’s been an unusually slow start to the already sleepy January term.  However, that hasn’t stopped my music classes from listening to great music; indeed, we’re now covering what is perhaps my favorite period in the history of Western music:  the Romantic Era.

While I adore Baroque and classical composers and their works, Romantic music builds upon the forms established in those eras, stretching and expanding upon them to reach new heights of emotional intensity and musical expressiveness.  The music of the Romantic composers delights with its musical exploration of the supernatural, the mysterious, the Gothic, and the nationalistic.

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TBT: Warrior for Life

South Carolina has a reputation for orneriness—we were the first State to secede from the Union in 1860, after all, and threatened to do it nearly thirty years earlier, during the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33—and it seems our Catholic priests are particularly prone to use their pulpits to prescribe some red-pillsPriest Jeffrey Kirby delivered a fiery homily warning that with Biden’s election, the Church faces real persecution in the days ahead, and scolded parishioners who cast their votes for Biden as betraying their Catholic faith:

Priests and preachers usually shy away from overtly political sermons, but we’re overdue for some Truth.  We’re not discussing Democrats versus Republicans anymore; we’re talking about electing Evil—those that flaunt their desire to slay the unborn—and even the recently born!—and celebrate every opportunity they can force us to accept another progressive indignity.  Trannies reading storybooks to four-year olds isn’t a “blessing of liberty,” per wincing, politically-correct, noodle-wristed, mainstream Evangelical David French—it’s an assault on our values and our culture.  If they can make us accept something so ridiculous and patently unnatural—wicked!—then it puts that wedge in the door to pry it open to all manner of government-sanctioned evil.

Father Kirby’s bold sermon reminded me of another great warrior for Christ—and for Life:  Father Robert “Bob” Morey.  Father Bob is less bombastic in his denunciation of evil, but he is nonetheless a true warrior for his Faith.  In October 2019, Father Bob declined to give Joe Biden Holy Communion due to Biden’s pro-abortion—pro-infanticide, I should write—stance.

As such, I thought it would be a good time to look at Father Bob’s bold stance for life in this week’s TBT.  Here is October 2019’s “Warrior for Life“:

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