Friday, November 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 44

1.     This was a pretty rough week for me. Amplifying my usual ‘moods’ was the fact that our beloved family dog, Smuckers, took a turn for the worse over the weekend and finally departed this life on Tuesday evening at the age of 14. The knowledge of what was coming, and the shadow of that loss has pretty much hung over me all week, making every individual frustration and depression that much worse. I’m feeling a bit better now, now that it’s over, but still sad.

2.     To take my mind off my depression, I’ve been writing like a fool. Unfortunately, I only just realized that I’m a little behind schedule: the halfway point of the 15th is tomorrow, and I’m just shy of 19,000 words, while I should be topping 25,000 by tomorrow night. I’ll have to put in some extra effort to make up the deficit. In any case, I’m enjoying the effort of writing this story very much and am pretty pleased at how it’s coming along so far.

3.     I had a good deal of amusement this week over what might just be the single stupidest example of the “secret history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene” trope I’ve ever seen (by the way, why is it always her? It’s not like there aren’t any other female disciples to choose from). Supposedly, researchers in the British Museum discovered an ancient document that tells how Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had two children, thus (how do they always put it?) “raising intriguing questions about the all-male priesthood” and “adding to our knowledge of a more authentic form of Christianity.”
                  So, what is this document? Well, it’s written in code, you see. Jesus is called ‘Joseph,’ and Mary is called ‘Asenath.’ Yes, just like the Old Testament figures, Joseph son of Jacob and his briefly-mentioned wife, Asenath, the daughter of an Egyptian priest. Yes, on the surface it seems like it’s just a pious retelling of the story in Genesis, describing how Asenath converted to belief in the one true God, thus making her a fitting spouse for one of the great patriarchs of the Bible, and yes, that’s how everyone who has ever read it in the past century and a half that it has been published and available to the public has understood it, but obviously it’s really a secret history about Jesus and Mary encoded to shield the authors from the wrath of the all-powerful Church of the first and second centuries, and we know that because…
Because shut up, that’s why!

4.     Whenever one of those “the Hidden Truth of Christianity” things pop up, I’m reminded of this issue of Hark! A Vagrant (which is very funny and often very clever, for those interested):

5.     So, I saw Big Hero Six last weekend and liked it a good deal. I’d rank it below both Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, but it was much better than Frozen. I think I’m going to have to go see it again, because it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I have the feeling I’ll enjoy it even more on a second viewing (rather like my reaction to Brave). Flaw-wise, my main problem was that the four friends were underdeveloped and didn’t really have much to do in the story; I think the film could have stood to be maybe ten or fifteen minutes longer just to flesh them out a bit. I felt rather like I was watching one episode of an ensemble TV show (i.e. Teen Titans), where one select individual or pair out of the group is the focus of this story, because you know they’ll have time to develop the others in subsequent episodes. I really hope there’s a sequel that delves more into the supporting cast. On the other hand, they do a good job of sketching the characters in shorthand and the six heroes really do come off as close and loyal friends who have each other’s backs and are intimately familiar with each other’s quirks. Most importantly, the central relationship between Hiro and the robot Baymax was well-developed, touching, and really made the film. Plus, Baymax is probably the funniest and most endearing sidekick in recent memory. The story is tight and flows well, and the theme is clear, honest, and well-realized, giving the movie a solid moral core. It’s funny, sweet, has an immensely likeable cast of heroes, and is just a whole lot of fun. My rating: 4/5. 

6.     You know, I complain about my job fairly often (probably more often than I should), but I do want to make it clear that the job isn’t really the problem. In fact, this is probably the best job of its type that I could hope for: people are decent to work with, boss is decent, I mostly get left alone and no micromanaged, times flexible, etc. The problem is that I am not a good person to do this job. I have a natural resentment to being forced to take an interest in things I don’t care about, and I can’t think of anything this company does that interests me in the slightest, let alone the things I’m obliged to handle. Add to that…well, put it this way; have you ever had one of those old, crappy computers where sometimes when you click on something the computer just sits there, and you’re not sure whether it’s processing the command, didn’t register the command, or has frozen solid and will need to be restarted? A large chunk of my job basically feels like that.

7.     And our traditional end quote:
(on a ‘sawing the woman in half’ trick)
Alfred Hitchcock: “All I can say is that the saw worked perfectly, but the wand didn’t.”
-Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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