Thursday, February 28, 2013

Into the 21st Century...

It's not often we have the opportunity to observe history, but we will today when Pope Benedict XVI retires.  It will be the first time in 600 years that a Pope has stepped down from his position. He has pledged "unconditional reverence and obedience" to whomever succeeds him as head of the Roman Catholic church as he prepares to stand down. And when he retires, perhaps now would be a good time for the Catholic church to become part of the 21st century.

When I was getting married, my husband was Catholic and I was required to convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism in order to be baptized in the Catholic church.  Every week, I took instructions from a priest by the name of Father Belanger.  We would have long conversations, and one day Father Belanger said to me, "You'll never make a good Catholic, you ask too many questions."  I was baptized, however, and on the morning of my wedding, Father Belanger was in a car accident and, prophetically, his car struck a part of the Vancouver Island Mountain Range known as Angel Rock.  He survived and officiated at my wedding with a bruised face and a black eye.

The Catholic church has its problems, to be sure, but I prefer to believe that, for the most part, the priests and nuns are good people.  However, an institution as large as the Catholic church, with 1.8 billion followers, has to modernize.  It has to become part of the world in which its followers live.  Folks don't live in the 13th Century, they live in the 21st century, with all the ramifications of life in the 21st century.  Celibacy does not work.  My feeling is that Pope Benedict understood that, and had difficulty with it.  He is one of the more intellectual Popes to have governed the Catholic church.  Pope Benedict's legacy will be his resignation; that in itself is a "modern" act, if you will.  I don't believe Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger ever wanted to be Pope, and his predecessor was certainly a hard act to follow.

The next Pope will be facing plenty of challenges.  Hopefully he will be a younger man who has experienced modern life, and has more understanding of the human condition.  And, I hope he asks a lot of questions.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence needs to fire her stylist.  As soon as I saw Jennifer on the red carpet, wearing that elaborate skirt, I knew what was going to happen.  This wonderful, talented young lady has won an Oscar at the age of 22, and all everyone tweeted about last night on the social media was her trip-and-fall.  She fell very badly, and took a long time to get back to her feet and regain her composure.  What should have been one of the most wonderful moments in her life instead became one of the most embarrassing.  Fire your stylist, Jennifer, but keep your agent.

The first time I saw Jennifer Lawrence, she played a poverty-stricken teenager in the Ozarks, in a movie called Winter's Bone.  If you haven't seen it, put it on your must-see list.  Jennifer Lawrence's performance is haunting and brilliant.  Jennifer Lawrence will win another Oscar one day, and I'm sure she won't let her stylist talk her into wearing a treacherous dress resembling a minefield -- an accident waiting to happen.

Congratulations on your success, Ms. Lawrence.  You have earned it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Downton Abbey ... A Dream Sequence?

For the past three seasons, I have been hooked on Downton Abbey.  The characters have become as familiar to me as my own friends, and I find myself caring about what happens to them.  Upstairs and downstairs, they get themselves into such predicaments, week after week.  Will Anna uncover sufficient evidence to get Bates out of jail?  Will Mrs. O'Brien and Thomas sabotage each other?  Will Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes ever admit their fondness for each other?  And what biting bon mot will Lady Grantham come up with next?

Lady Grantham: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Mrs Crawley: "I take that as a compliment."
Lady Grantham: "I must have said it wrong."

So, when one of the characters meets a final and unalterable end, I am inconsolable.  There will be no "dream sequences" such as there were in Dallas, in which the entirety of season eight was revealed to have been a dream.  Once the characters in Downton Abbey are gone, they're gone.

Can I stand to watch another season?  I can hardly wait.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Asteroids and Meteors and Comets, oh My...

The odds of two celestial events happening in one day over our earth are one hundred million to one.  And yet, yesterday they happened.  Scientists have known for several months that Asteroid 2012 DA14 was heading our way, and would pass very close to earth, missing us by 15 minutes.  But no one expected the meteor shower over Russia, just hours before DA14's arrival.  That meteor caught everyone off guard and injured over 1,000 people.  On the NASA website: "According to NASA scientists, the trajectory of the Russia meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, making it a completely unrelated object. Information is still being collected about the Russia meteor and analysis is preliminary at this point. In videos of the meteor, it is seen to pass from left to right in front of the rising sun, which means it was traveling from north to south. Asteroid DA14's trajectory is in the opposite direction, from south to north."  Can you imagine if they had collided?  What would be the odds of that?

Every day the earth is hit by several thousand meteors, most only the size of a grain of sand. Occasionally they are larger, ranging in size from a baseball to a kitchen table. Approximately once a week we are hit by a meteor the size of a car, and a few times a year we are hit by one the size of a house. Most of this space debris burns up when entering the earth's atmosphere, but occasionally someone on earth will get hit.  In 2009, Gerritt Blank, a 14-year-old boy in Germany, was hit by a meteorite the size of a pea.  It knocked him flying and left a foot wide crater in the ground.

"Hey! What was that?"

Just over 100 years ago, a meteor exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, causing an explosion the size of a nuclear bomb. And, there is a theory that the legend of Noah's Ark was created from a tsunami caused by a meteor that struck the Indian Ocean.

We're sitting ducks here on our little blue planet.  The good news is that if anything of substantial size comes our way, we will be forewarned.  If we can do anything to detract it remains to be seen.  We'll just call Bruce Willis.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Phinnaeus at 17...

This week, Phinnaeus turns 17.  How did that happen?  It was just last week he was this little guy on his tricycle.  Wasn't it just last week?  All of a sudden he has gone from a riding a tricycle, to getting his driver's license.  Really, how did that happen?

Phinnaeus came into this world with a huge personality.  I remember at one family dinner, when he was three years-old, he grandly announced to everyone, "I love all the people I know, and I don't love all the people I don't know."  Well, yes, you can't argue with that.  It made perfect sense to me.  Phinnaeus also has a wonderful intellectual curiosity, and he once made the profound statement, "I can hardly wait to learn about all the things in the world there are to learn."  I remember when Phinnaeus was around the age of two, he was obsessed with garbage trucks.  But of course, to a small child, garbage trucks are huge, noisy, mysterious things.  His way of dealing with them was to learn everything there was to learn about them.  I used to laugh every time he saw one -- "G'bage truck!" He's probably forgotten about that now.

Phinnaeus is a good person, with a good integrity.  He was born with his moral compass set for due north.  I recognized that when he was a very little boy.  The first thing he wants to do when he turns 17 is to donate blood.  Can you imagine?  Something like that would never even have occurred to me at the age of 17.  Phinnaeus says it's his way of being able to donate something to the community.  He has also taken it upon himself to read the Bible -- cover to cover -- just out of curiosity.  My father did the same thing when he was that age.  I often see strong links between Phinnaeus and my father, and I think some of my father's DNA was passed down to Phinnaeus, along with the reddish hair.  Phinnaeus also has a wicked sense of humour, and sense of the ridiculous.  I think that will serve him well throughout his lifetime.  To be able to see the humour in any situation is truly a gift.  Phinnaeus will be finishing high school next year, and he's still grappling with the idea of what he wants to do.  He has considered studying law, and we all think he would be a natural lawyer.  No one can split a hair the way Phinnaeus can.  Whatever he does, he will do it well.

Phinnaeus is on the border of manhood, and his parents deserve to be very proud of him.  He's a lot of fun, and he's a good person.  And I think his moral compass will always be set for due north.

Happy Birthday, Phinnaeus!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Did You Get the License Numbers...?

Did anyone happen to get the license numbers of those trucks that hit me last week?  One by one, they ran over me -- headache, chest congestion, runny nose, aches, fevers, did I mention headache?  I haven't had a cold like that since -- I can't remember when.  I am slowly returning to the land of the well, however, and will be posting again soon.  This weekend is a three-day weekend here in B.C.  It's a new holiday called "family day".  I'm calling it "sleep in every morning, and then go for long walks and get some fresh air day".  Spring is just around the corner.  Yay!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.