Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Greatness Will Not Make Me Happy

I'm reading Sense and Sensibility and was struck by this exchange between Elinor and Edward. She speaks first. Not accusatorily; just matter-of-factly.
"You have no ambition, I well know. Your wishes are all moderate." 

"As moderate as those of the rest of the world, I believe. I wish as well as every body else to be perfectly happy; but like every body else it must be in my own way. Greatness will not make me so."
Edward gets it.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Express Purpose of Interfering

I just finished reading The Peril at End House, a Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie. It's very very good, but I was especially struck by a bit of theology that Poirot brings up.

There's a minor spoiler in this, so if the book is on your reading list and you want to remain totally surprised, you'll want to skip this whole thing.

Some set up: Poirot and his buddy Hastings suspect that someone is trying to murder a young woman named Nick. It's an unusual case, because they're trying to prevent a murder instead of solve one. That's one of the things I love about the book. 

But here's the spoiler: Nick's cousin Maggie is dressed similarly to Nick at one point and is killed instead. Shortly after, Poirot and Hastings talk about what happened. Hastings is narrating and begins:
"It's really amazing the way Nick has escaped. It seems almost incredible." 

And suddenly I remembered the tone in Frederica’s voice as she had said: "Nick bears a charmed life." 

I shivered a little. 

"Yes," said Poirot, thoughtfully. "And I can take no credit to myself. Which is humiliating."

"Providence," I murmured. 

"Ah, mon ami, I would not put on the shoulders of the good God the burden of men’s wrongdoing. You say that in your Sunday morning voice of thankfulness — without reflecting that what you are really saying is that le bon Dieu has killed Miss Maggie Buckley." 

"Really, Poirot!" 

"Really, my friend! But I will not sit back and say 'le bon Dieu has arranged everything, I will not interfere.' Because I am convinced that le bon Dieu created Hercule Poirot for the express purpose of interfering."

It's a profound, important idea that Poirot expresses. Hastings offers a quick, simple platitude about the Providence of God being responsible for saving Nick, but he hasn't thought through the implications. Hastings is never the deepest thinker, but someone a little more thoughtful would realize what Poirot points out: that God can't just get credit for saving Nick. If Hastings is right, then God must also taking the blame for murdering Maggie.

Poirot goes even deeper though and dismisses the idea that God had a direct hand in the affair at all. In Poirot's view, God has placed his people on the Earth to act on God's behalf. We don't get to sit back and wait for God to fix the world. We have to understand that it's our job to fix it as God's agents. That the way he fixes it is through us. 

It's a terrifying responsibility that more of God's people need to take seriously, but I think Poirot is absolutely right.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Thinking About Blogging (About Thinking)

I want to get back to doing some actual blogging rather than using this space to promote podcast episodes. I feel like by now everyone knows where to find my podcasts if they're interested. And for those who don't, the individual websites for each one are in the sidebar. 

I don't have a specific blogging plan other than to ease into it. I'm not gonna set any huge projects for myself right away. I need this to be spontaneous and fun. This is just a note to express my intention. Less podcast promo, more actual thoughts about things.

Monday, August 14, 2023

After Lunch | Planet of the Apes (1968)

Rob, Pax, and I visit the Planet of the Apes! Kicking off a bunch of discussions about the simian series, we start with a quick conversation about Pierre Boulle's novel before exploring the 1968 movie that started a phenomenon. 

Monday, August 07, 2023

After Lunch | Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

On the 200th episode of After Lunch, Rob, Karen Flieger, and I close out the Sean Connery era of the Bond films with Diamonds Are Forever. We talk about the return of Connery, whether it's a worthy follow-up to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the wisdom of hiring a jazz musician and Crispin Glover's dad to play assassins. The movie's directed by Goldfinger's Guy Hamilton and also stars Jill St John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, and Jimmy Dean.

Friday, August 04, 2023

Hellbent for Letterbox | The Walking Hills (1949)

I accidentally pulled a fast one and made Pax watch a non-historical Western, John Sturges' The Walking Hills. It stars Randolph Scott and Ella Raines as two members of a party that enters the desert dunes looking for a lost wagon train and (according to legend) the gold that it was carrying.

But even though the movie takes place in the 1940s, the comic Pax read does not: the Sixth Gun mini-series Shadow Roads.

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

After Lunch | Introducing: After Midnight

We're soon going to start a new horror-focused series of episodes called After Lunch After Midnight featuring Michael and his pal Jessica Hickman. It's sort of a spin-off of another podcast called Filthy Horrors that they did together with their mutual pal Darla Ecklund. So to introduce After Midnight, we thought it might be good to rerun the first episode of Filthy Horrors in which Jess, Darla, and Michael talk about their history with horror, the kinds of horror they like, and lots of examples of favorite horror movies, TV shows, books, and comics.

Monday, July 31, 2023

After Lunch | Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One (2023)

Rob and I wrap our Mission: Impossible movies watch-through (for now) with the new entry in the series: Dead Reckoning, Part One. We talk about all the spoilers and whether second viewings changed our perspective on anything. Well, one thing in particular, but sure, everything else, too.

Friday, July 28, 2023

After Lunch | After Dinner Lounge – A Mission: Impossible Level Puzzle

Rob, Pax, and I finish this month's Lounge with discussion about our personal movie rating systems, Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series, Daniel Pemberton movie scores, The Haunting of Bly Manor, the second season of Schmigadoon!, more about Ted Lasso, Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship, Nimona, modern Luddites, The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Alamo Drafthouse, our top three favorite comic book artists, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, maybe a little bit about the new Mission: Impossible movie, and much much more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

After Lunch | After Dinner Lounge – Sniff This Microphone

Rob, Pax, and I chat about farting soulmates, '90s revamped superheroes, Pax’s idea for a Batman ‘66 Season 4 crossover, Philip Marlowe in The Little Sister, Hammer Frankenstein and the Hammer House of Podcast, Men both Gray and Thin, weekly comics reading, crappy Spider-Man novels, the darkening of the Harry Potter books, and lots of other things.

Monday, July 24, 2023

After Lunch | Star Trek: Discovery, Season 4

Rob, Delaney, and I continue our Star Trek Trek with season 4 of Discovery. Find out what we thought of the butterfly people, the new Federation President, all that jargon (The DMA! Species 10-C! The Orb! The Hyperfield!), and the most contentious element of the season: Zora. 


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