Monday Morning Movie Review: Aniara (2018)

What happens when a luxury transport ship on a routine voyage to Mars is thrown off course, set adrift on an endless voyage across the cosmos?  That’s the premise behind 2018’s Aniara, based on the 1956 Swedish epic poem of the same name.

The answer, ultimately, is quite bleak.  Aniara fits fully into the nihilistic ennui that Scandinavians—materially prosperous but spiritually adrift—relish so stoically.  Seriously, the Swedes seemed obsessed with existential crises and a sense of meaningless in life.  At its best, that gives us the likes of Danish Christian existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard; at its worst, it creates the kind of mindless pleasure-seeking the passengers of the film’s title ship indulge in here.

For all the film’s depressing messaging about the futility of life (to be fair, being trapped on an endless voyage in space, eating only algae to survive, would be a fairly depressing and psychologically destructive experience), it’s a fascinating look into how a society might develop, survive, and perish in the depths of outer space.

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Lazy Sunday CVII: Easter

Happy Easter—He is Risen!

While you’re getting on your Easter Sunday best and tightening your Easter bonnet, take a few moments before the service (or after the sunrise service) to look back at some past posts about Easter:

  • The Classiest Easter Eggs” – This post looks back at the tradition of Fabergé eggs, which started life as an Easter gift from Czar Alexander III of Russia to his wife.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Easter Weekend” – Last Easter was quite unusual, with churches shuttered and everyone stuck at home.  This post detailed how my family approached the particularly unorthodox Easter of 2020 (of course, for Orthodox Christians, it wasn’t Easter at all!).
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Easter Weekend 2021” – To follow up last year’s Easter Saturday post, yesterday I wrote about Easter Weekend 2021.  It also features some of my plans for the long, glorious Spring Break that awaits.

That’s it for this quick Easter 2021 edition of Lazy Sunday.

Happy Easter!

—TPP

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Easter Weekend 2021

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It’s Easter Weekend 2021!  Unlike last Easter, which was “decidedly un-Eastery” in The Age of The Virus, this Easter is starting to go back to normal.  By the time you read this post, I will have had my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, so I’m either fully medically acceptable to our cosmopolitan elites—or dead.  Gulp!  I’m not sure which is worse.

Regardless, more and more folks are vaccinated, and churches have been reopened for many months now here in the South (they never should have been shuttered in the first place).  I fully expect that tomorrow will see a return, albeit a perhaps socially-distanced, diminished return, to the jam-packed Easter services of The Before Times, in the Long, Long Ago.

Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar, probably in a dead-heat with Christmas.  Just as Christmas celebrates Christ’s Birth, Easter commemorates His Resurrection—the ultimate testament to Christ’s Victory over Death, the Devil, and the Grave.

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Saint Patrick’s Day

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day throughout the Western world, a day to venerate and celebrate the life, death, and Christian service of Saint Patrick (the day coincides with the supposed date of St. Patrick’s death).  Of course, now the holiday has devolved into a drunken festivity in which everyone pretends to be Irish for a day, downing pints of green beer and wearing green.

The real story of Saint Patrick is far more interesting than the debauched modern celebration.  Patrick was the son of a wealthy family in what is now Britain in the declining years of the Roman Empire.  Irish raiders captured Patrick and sold him into slavery in the Emerald Isle.  Working alone as a shepherd, isolated and afraid, Patrick turned to Christ for solace and strength.

After escaping captivity, God called him back to Ireland, not as a slave, but to deliver Ireland from its spiritual bondage.  After his ordination, Patrick returned and preached the Gospel to the pagan Irish, sparking a major religious revival among the people there.  Ultimately, Ireland became second perhaps only to France in its dedication to the Catholic Church, and unlike its Gallic co-religionists, maintained that devotion well into the twentieth century.

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Lazy Sunday CII: Obituaries, Part II

Another week is dawning, and it’s time to look at the sun setting on some excellent individuals.  2020 was a rough year for many reasons, not least because of the deaths it brought.  Here’s hoping this week’s titans are resting in the arms of Jesus:

  • Rock in Peace, Eddie Van Halen” – If any of these three aren’t resting in the arms of Jesus, it’s probably Eddie Van Halen, though I’m holding out hope he experienced some manner of conversion experience and is playing “Panama” inside the pearly gates.  Eddie was a pioneering guitarist, but he also built on the legacies of past giants, like the violinist Niccolo Paganini (who was so good, it was said he sold his soul to the devil for the privilege; if that’s true, there’s a pretty good band in Hell right now—not that you’d want to go and hear them!)
  • Rest in Peace, Alex Trebek” – Smarmy.  Smug.  Canadian (I think).  Alex Trebek is synonymous with Jeopardy!, and it’s unclear that anyone can fill his shoes.  He brought just the right balance of bedside manner and not giving a damn to his hosting duties, asking guests for their tedious life stories, and occasionally finding them lackluster.  But, boy, he was a good host.  Rest in Peace, Alex.
  • Rest in Peace, Rush Limbaugh” – Speaking of irreplaceable hosts, Rush Limbaugh is one of the first greats to shed off this mortal coil in the great year 2021.  I don’t think anyone can truly replace Rush behind the legendary EIB Golden Mic, but I’m hoping they hire Mark Steyn as a perpetual guest host.  “The Rush Limbaugh Show w/ Mark Steyn” has a nice ring to it.  That’s a Canadian I can get behind.

That’s it for another macabre edition of Lazy Sunday.  Happier retrospectives to come in March.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Lazy Sunday CI: Obituaries, Part I

Dedicating two Lazy Sundays to obituaries is a bit grim, but after Rush Limbaugh’s death last week and a solid week of cold, rainy weather, it seemed appropriate.

As I began looking back at posts about deaths, I was surprised to see I had written several obituaries and memorials (enough to split this retrospective into two parts).  2020 was a particularly difficult year, as we all know, and it took some of the greats with it.

Too many.  But, as my blogger and real-life friend Bette Cox noted on my Limbaugh memorial, she doesn’t wish for a peaceful rest, but a joyously busy time in Heaven.  I’m sure Rush has a golden mic up there, broadcasting praises to Christ for all eternity.  Excellent in Broadcasting, indeed.

  • Breaking: Conservative Commentator Charles Krauthammer Dies at 68” – This post was the first (I believe) I wrote about the passing of any public figure on the WordPress version of the blog (other than a blurb about Michael Jackson’s death on the old Blogger site).  Krauthammer was a bit of a squish by today’s standards, and it would be interesting to see how he would have fallen on Trumpism after four years, but he was one of the more creative and intelligent pundits on the airwaves.  I always enjoyed his writing, and his interesting insights into human nature.
  • Rest in Peace, Herman Cain” – The Godfather of Godfather Pizza, and one of my favorite political figures of the twenty-first century, Herman Cain was, in some ways, a prelude to Trump:  fun, humorous, controversial, down-to-earth, and populist.  I loved his “9-9-9” Plan, if for no other reason than it was good marketing (and because of his belief that (to paraphrase) “if 10% is good enough for God, 9% is good enough for the federal government).
  • Remembering Ravi Zacharias” – Since his death, allegations surfaced that Ravi Zacharias was a sexual predator; sadly, after intense investigation (fully and transparently conducted and supported by his ministry, RZIM), it seems these allegations are true.  That’s a terrible coda to an otherwise exemplary career.  Zacharias may have fallen to temptation later in life, but it does nothing to erase his impact on generations of Christians.  He still won thousands of souls for the Lord, and his detailed apologia for Christianity still stand powerfully.  His fall serves as a powerful reminder, as The Didactic Mind put it, to “not base your faith on the words of men.”  It’s also an admonition to finish the race strong.

That’s it for this weekend’s obituaries.  Rather than dwelling on them gloomily, let’s think of them as a celebration of life, both in this world and the next.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Feel-Good Friday: Extreme Generosity

Amid the myriad newsletters and e-mail lists that I promptly delete from my inbox everyday, I stumbled upon this wholesome story, one that evaded swift deletion and digital oblivion.  A seventeen-year old Chick-fil-A employee won a car in a company Christmas raffle, and promptly gave it to her nineteen-year old coworker.  The coworker had to bike to work every day, adding several hours to her daily workday (though no doubt keeping her in excellent shape).

It’s a life-changing act of generosity, and the kind of thing that always seems to be attached to Chick-fil-A.  It’s amazing how an overtly Christian establishment with a strong commitment to quality and good treatment breeds more of the same.  I needn’t list the many examples of Chick-fil-A employees doing good things—we’ve all heard dozens of such stories already.

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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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