St. Nicholas Day

AKA the Day Everyone Celebrates That Santa Claus Slapped a Heretic.

Yes, the story of how, at the Council of Nicea, St. Nicholas slapped Arius for denying that Christ was consubstantial with God the Father is a highlight of the season, but I wanted to go ahead and focus on something a little different today. I found the old Vespers antiphon for his feast day, which is awesome enough because Gregorian Chant never goes out of style, but what made this particular video stand out was the inclusion of different images of St. Nicholas from different countries. Each culture has its own way of portraying him, but there are some elements–the red vestments, the white beard–that remain constant. I personally like the Polish picture because that just looks like someone who would slap a heretic.

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I Made It!

I made it all the way through National Blog Post Writing Month 2016! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish it this year, but I did! Hooray!

So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m busy recovering my sanity. I will be back, though!

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Christmas Novenas

November 30 is the last day of November, but it’s also the feast day of St. Andrew, one of Christ’s Apostles. Thus, I am bringing up the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, which starts today and goes to December 24. Yes, I know that is not a period of nine days, so I don’t know why they can still call it a novena, but here you go anyway: http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent7.html.

There’s also a different novena you can say that actually is nine days long. It starts on December 16 and finishes on Christmas Eve: http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent8.html. The website notes that this novena matches up with the O Antiphons, which is nice if you’re also reciting those in the days leading up to Christmas.

I admit, there was an ulterior motive for mentioning the St. Andrew Christmas Novena today–it is also the last day of National Blog Post Writing Month, and since I started out the month with a saint post (All Saints’ Day to be precise), I thought it would be nice to bring everything full circle by ending with a saint post.

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A New “Dune” Adaptation?

It came to my attention last week that Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind movies like The Dark Knight and Pacific Rim, has acquired the film rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune. Granted, there have been no announcements as to whether or not there will be a new movie, but if you have the film rights for a book, you must want to make something, right?

I can only hope it doesn’t mutilate the story a la the 1984 version. That was such a disappointment. I do remember that Syfy (back in the days when it was still the SciFi Channel) turned DuneDune Messiah, and Children of Dune into a miniseries. I never saw the Dune Messiah or Children of Dune parts, but the parts that dealt specifically with Dune were actually pretty good. I think on the whole Dune works better as a miniseries, so perhaps Legendary Entertainment will take that route with their new adaptation.

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“Power of the Daleks” in Animated Form: Not the Original but Pretty Close

I’ve been watching the broadcast of the animated restoration of “The Power of the Daleks” on BBC America, and though it’s only been on for a couple of weeks, I wanted to go ahead and write down some of my thoughts on it.

The animation, while good, will never quite match the magic of seeing the actual actors–but that’s okay. What matters is that we have the story back for the first time in 50 years, and it’s a brilliant story that didn’t deserve to be wiped in the first place. After regenerating for the first time, the Doctor arrives on the planet Vulcan (no, not that Vulcan) and is mistaken for an examiner from Earth. A mysterious capsule has been unearthed on the planet, and the colonists think that the Doctor has arrived to examine it and give them permission to open it. Judging from the title, you can probably guess what’s inside.

I must admit, there was a certain magic in watching the first ever regeneration scene. It was very low-key, and the Doctor was nonchalant about the whole thing. He experienced some momentary confusion (not being able to remember where he left things, referring to himself in the third person), but nothing like what we’re used to seeing lately. I almost wonder if the reason this regeneration was so easy is that his body had simply reached the end of its natural life. Pretty much all of his subsequent regenerations were the result of some sort of trauma, which was probably severely disorienting. Come to think of it, that’s what happened to the War Doctor at the end of “The Day of the Doctor”–his body reached the end of its natural life and was renewing itself, and when we saw him again in “Rose”, it was obvious he had pretty much just finished regenerating (the scene in Rose’s apartment is the first time he sees himself in a mirror). Ben and Polly were confused as heck, which I imagine was the feeling of every single person watching the show, but they eventually came to accept the new Doctor–and so did the audience.

On the whole, I’m glad the powers-that-be decided to animate this story since the chances of it ever being found intact are very slim. I hope they do this for the other lost episodes. There are so many great stories from the First and Second Doctors that deserve to live again that it would be a shame if this was a one-time-only deal.

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First Sunday of Advent

The liturgical calendar turns over once more, and I’m trying to process how it got to be Advent so quickly, where time is going, and what, if anything, I’m accomplishing with my life. Over-self-analysis aside, Advent is a special season all its own, which is why I get frustrated when people skip over it and head straight to Christmas. Advent helps us prepare for the two comings of Christ–the first one at Christmas and the second one at the end of the world. More accurately, we prep for the second coming by remembering the first, by drawing parallels between the first period of waiting and the one we face now. Of course, the second coming will be considerably from the first, but the waiting period we face now is not too different from the one the Jews faced when waiting for the birth of the Messiah. Even the Advent song “O Come, Divine Messiah” has lyrics that can be applied either to the season before Christmas or to the current state of our world.

Sweet Savior, haste!
Come, come to Earth;
Dispel the night and show Thy face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

On a different note, this is officially the 400th post on my blog, a number I didn’t think I would hit, but I’m glad I made it this far.

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Full “Beauty and the Beast” Trailer

This falls into the category of “Stuff That Happened While I Was Doing My Doctor Who Countdown, so I Didn’t Get a Chance to Cover It”. The first full trailer for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast remake came out a couple of weeks ago, and I must say I am really impressed with the sets and costumes. They look amazing. They almost remind me of a mix of the 90’s animated version and Jean Cocteau’s version from the 40’s. The acting…well, I’m not entirely sold on the acting just yet. I’m still feeling burned from Les Miserables and The Hobbit, so I’m reserving judgement. But I am looking forward to Luke Evans as Gaston; his Bard was one of the redeeming aspects of The Hobbit.

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