What are you reading (and watching)?


I received some good books for Christmas and have picked up a few since then. I just finished The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard, which won the National Book award in 1980. I like her and it is a joy to read her prose and this story, which takes place in the Far East right after WWII, is thought-provoking. I am also reading the story of Elihu Washburne, who was the U.S. minister to France during the siege of Paris in 1871. It is an amazing story–which I had all but forgotten (if I ever actually knew). Washburne stayed at his post while the Prussians laid siege to Paris and afterward when the revolutionaries of the Commune embarked on a reign of terror that filled the streets with blood. Zut alors!

I didn’t do much over my long weekend. I vacuumed and straightened and drove some flattened boxes to the recycling center. I went to church.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Corinthians 1:2-9)

The OM and I watched some movies–Tall in the Saddle (1944)–which has a witty script and lots of action, not to mention a very appealing John Wayne.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.07.42 PM.png

We also watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) directed by Quentin Tarantino. This movie is two hours and 40 minutes long and full of problems, but I have to say I enjoyed it. And it wasn’t all that violent, at least until the end.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.12.13 PM.png

The director has indulged himself–he could have (and should have) tightened it up, but most of the PC criticisms are groundless. The New Yorker called it “obscenely regressive”–please, it takes place in 1969 in Hollywood, what do  you expect? As if looking back and portraying a moment in history as he saw it is obscene. I guess the obscene part is reveling in it, rather than condemning it, right? I’m not sure what Tarantino’s ultimate point was, but my takeaway is (spoiler alert), if the Manson crew had broken into the house next door to Sharon Tate’s and instead attacked a stuntman, a fading western actor, a pitt bull, and an Italian actress, the outcome would indeed have been different. If this is glorifying white men, so be it.

We also re-watched Ford vs. Ferrari (2019) because it is the OM’s new favorite movie. I enjoyed it too. Matt Damon and Christian Bale were definitely overlooked by the Academy, but Big Surprise.

The wee babes were both sick so they missed taco night on Sunday, but the boy came over and talked about movies and other grown up stuff, which was a treat for me.

By the way, do you know how Martin Luther King got his name? I didn’t either. (I just assumed his parents gave him the name as an infant.)

Perhaps you know the story: In 1934 the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta sent its pastor Michael King, Sr. to attend a Baptist World Alliance Meeting in Berlin. The trip included a whirlwind visit to a number of other sites, but apparently the time in Germany (just as the National Socialists were starting their rise) had such an impact on Michael that he decided to rename himself and his 5-year-old son after the Great Reformer. Thus, father and son became Martin Luther King, Sr. and Jr.

That is cool and I thought this was interesting.

Today I am scheduled to have my last radiation treatment. So picture me ringing that bell for a second time. Praise Jesus.