Monday, June 10, 2024


Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes (2021) A couple in need of serious counseling inherit a castle, which only makes things worse. And then something happens. One of those movies where you can't really discuss anything past the first ten minutes or it ruins everything. Expressly geared towards those who grok on artsy-fartsy weirdness (guilty), but others may wish to avoid.

TIL: As Pope Paul VI noted, "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life." So, if your marriage needs a little help, get it. It'll make things better for everyone.

I HAVE SOME NOTES: Have notepad, will make odd observations on daily Scripture readings.

Saturday, June 08, 2024



Equalizer 2000 (1987) After the apocalypse, the guy with the biggest gun wins. That's the idea, anyway, so most of the movie consists of people dressed in leather and big shoulder pads fighting for control of a cartoonishly modified LMG. In short, it's Mad Max if Rob Liefeld had served as the art director. Good enough for a diversion if you're into the genre.

TIL: Historically, the Church has never been fond of escalation in weapon technology. For instance, in 1139, the Second Lateral Council declared the use of bows and crossbows murderous, and called for a ban on such weapons. Then, as now, such pleas went mostly ignored.

One Sheet Words of Wisdom: A Piece of the Action (1977) "If a man's religion does not affect his use of money, that man's religion is vain." - Hugh Martin

Thursday, June 06, 2024


Funny Book Philosophy : Zip Comics 003 (1940) While there are some disagreements over what the Book of Revelation has to say about the end times, most Christians agree there will be a final cosmic battle in which Jesus returns and the forces of Satan are defeated once and for all. However, according to Zip Comics, Satan himself may be a no-show because some off-brand Zatara named Zambini finished him off in 1940 by turning up the air conditioner in Hell. Not sure why they left that part out of the Bible.

I HAVE SOME NOTES: More dippy doodles on my daily Scripture readings.

Sunday, June 02, 2024



One Sheet Words of Wisdom: Zardoz (1974) "If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people." - Nhat Hanh

I HAVE SOME NOTES: More daft doodles from my daily Scripture readings.



The First Omen (2024) A young novitiate travels to Rome to take her vows, but soon discovers the order she is joining might not be so holy. As a long time fan of the Omen series, even managing to find some good laughs in Part IV, I was rooting for this one. Unfortunately, despite some strong horror vibes and one outlandish over-the-top gross-out scene tailor-made to send women running from their seats, this ends up being little more than Rosemary's Baby as if written by Dan Brown, and the end result is exactly as stupid as that sounds.

And now, WARNING, I'm going to spoil the Hell (so to speak) out of this movie.

For brevity's sake, let's ignore all the continuity errors the filmmakers introduce in their efforts to change things up and make some lame, easily debunked criticisms of the Catholic Church. The main problem here is that the film seems to have no idea what made the Omen series so popular to begin with.

One of the main appeals of the original Omen movies is the simpleness of their primary conflict. You know, God good, Satan evil, just the basics. But, like far too many current writers, the minds behind The First Omen just can't grasp that concept. Instead, they travel down what has increasingly become the road most taken, which is to make the good guys be the bad guys. I'm past being tired with that concept even when it's done well, and frankly, it's not done that well here.

To wit, the central conceit of this film is that there is a significant portion of the Roman clergy who want to purposely breed an antichrist so he will do bad things and scare people into running back to the Catholic Church. This idea increases in idiocy the more I think about it. Not only does this not gel with what Damien actually does in the original movies as he reaches maturity, but it's a basic misunderstanding of what Satan does according to Catholic theology. The Devil is a tempter; he entices people away from the Church with the promise of pleasures and power. He doesn't frighten them into the pews. It's a moronic plot device, and no amount of style can overcome it.

So, sorry The First Omen, I'm going to have to go against the generally favorable reviews you've been getting. You're just too dumb.

FREEZE FRAMES #016: This week's strange visitor to the deck (we get a lot) turned out to be a White-Marked Tussock Caterpillar. Pretty neat looking.

"To regret the exchange of earthly pleasures for the joys of Heaven, is as if the groveling caterpillar should lament that it must one day quit the nibbled leaf to soar aloft and flutter through the air, roving at will from flower to flower, sipping sweet honey from their cups, or basking in their sunny petals." - Anne Bronte

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


The Deadly Mantis (1957) More fun from the prolific Nathan H. Juran, who helmed this, The Brain from Planet Arous, and 20 Million Miles to Earth all in the same year. He could've stopped right there and still earned B-movie Heaven. In this particular opus, a thawed out prehistoric praying mantis eats its way around the globe. It's a fairly typical storyline as far as big bug movies go, but the proceedings are somewhat elevated above many of its peers by a pretty cool looking mantis puppet.

TIL: The mantis is pretty versatile as far as symbolism goes. The Surrealist movement, for instance, latched onto the bug as a symbol of the link between sex and death due to the female mantis' habit of chowing down on its mate after coitus. The more religious minded, however, often see the mantis as an avatar of stillness, meditation, and, of course, prayerfulness.

I HAVE SOME NOTES: Still scribbling thoughts on my daily Scripture readings 

Friday, May 24, 2024


THE LONG DARK NIGHT GALLERY OF THE SOUL: GOT YOU COVERED - Sometimes, when I'm in need of inspiration for my sketchbook, I need look no further than the shelves full of old sci-fi paperbacks I have. Here's my riff on a couple of covers that caught my eye. Sadly, the books do not list the original artists I stole... er, um, took inspiration from. 

Pondering the question of why so many successful sci-fi authors have been Catholic (active or lapsed), Br. Guy Consolmagno, the director of the Vatican Observatory, noted, "The Catholic understanding of a flawed humanity means we expect characters who can be loved even as they make mistakes and do wrong... In addition, no small advantage is that as a Catholic you already have a pretty sophisticated idea of what triumph and failure actually looks like. Saving the universe (that invidious habit) is pointless if you don’t know what a saved universe looks like, much less precisely what it is in the universe that is worthy of salvation."

I HAVE SOME NOTES: Sharing more quick thoughts on my daily Scripture readings.

Monday, May 20, 2024


Beginning of the End (1957) Scientists Peter Graves leads the battle against giant grasshoppers, which is fitting since it's partially his fault there are freaking giant grasshoppers to begin with. It's impossible to review this Bert I. Gordon riff on Them! without mentioning that the "special" effects consist of real grasshoppers crawling across blown up photographs of buildings, but then again, why wouldn't you mention it since the movie's cheesiness is part of its charm.

TIL: Lots of dieticians point out that the Kashrut in Leviticus had health benefits over and above the religious and tribal reasons for its list of culinary do's and don'ts. For instance, grasshoppers, which were approved for eating, are about 40% protein, 43% fat, and 13% fiber. Basically, they're good for you. But, healthy or not, being allowed and being required are not the same thing, so you'll be hard pressed to find the little buggers on too many kosher menus these days.

I HAVE SOME NOTES: Daily Scripture readings plus a note pad and pencil equals... whatever this is.