Category Archives: Media

Downton Abbey

I’ve been enjoying the first season of “Downton Abbey,” streaming on Netflix.

Fine acting by all, including Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton and Elizabeth McGovern. Intriguing story lines, gorgeous buildings and landscapes. And don’t forget witty dialogue…

Take this exchange from episode 4:

Lady Grantham: Good heavens, what am I sitting on?
Matthew Crawley: A swivel-chair.
Lady Grantham: Another modern brainwave?
Matthew Crawley: Hardly–they were invented by Thomas Jefferson.
Lady Grantham: Why does every day involve a fight with an American?

Probably not the best example, but the latest that made me laugh out loud.

When Father Tony alluded to an episode of the second season in last Sunday’s homily, I had to fight the urge to tune it out to avoid … spoilers… But since I can’t recall the specific reason for the reference at this point, I don’t suppose it warranted my faint trepidation after all. ;)

Podcast: The New Yorker Fiction

My latest favorite listening treat is The New Yorker’s Fiction podcast, which asks writers to read and discuss short stories and novel excerpts.

This morning, I heard author Nicole Krauss reading one of Bruno Schulz’s stories:

Happy Feast Day: Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes
Today, in honor of the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, we watched Song of Bernadette, a film about Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl who was visited by Our Lady.

There are several versions of the story in film, but the best by far is the 1943 version starring Jennifer Jones and Vincent Price.

This quote begins the movie:

“For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.”
-Franz Werfel (1890-1945)


When I was looking up the spelling of Bernadette’s last name and the IMDb film link just now, I found a video of Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt singing “Song of Bernadette,” by Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen:

And here’s Jennifer Warnes doing it:

I found the backstory on Jennifer’s inspiration in writing this song at the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity website.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lawrence OP

The Red Balloon

(We’ll just have to kind of ignore the opening thing…)

I remember seeing this 1956 film back in elementary school. I don’t remember which classes, but I remember it was on a film projector, one of those old spooled and threaded machines that would clack-clack-clack when it was over and the tape ran out.

When I found it streaming on Neflix over Christmas break, I had to show it to Lucas and Atticus. They both were captivated by it for the whole time — quite a feat for a movie with virtually no dialogue.

They could sense that the little boy was lonely, that he needed a friend, and that the red balloon somehow knew this. <3

Looking Down

No, not that kind of down. ;)

It was a good evening, actually. After Mass, we took the boys to Burger King and then to see Rio. It was a really cute and very colorful (literally, again) love story set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Eye candy (Carnival parade!) with a happy ending.

Afterward, in the lobby, the kids wanted to check out the arcade games, and Kevin was chatting with some people he works with, so I just took some pictures. I love to try to see familiar things in new ways, and looking through the scope of the viewfinder can definitely do that.

This is the carpet. I like the pattern.

Purple Personified

Every time I see one of these, I’m reminded of the living flowers in the old animated Alice in Wonderland movie.

It was all nice and sweet until they asked Alice what kind of flower she was. When she replied that she wasn’t a flower at all, they took her for a weed and ran her out of the garden. Satire, anyone?

p.s. I wish there really were bread-and-butterflies!

Don’t Start Nothin’, Won’t Be Nothin’ (Kevin and the Hulk)

We’d walked blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks.

We could’ve taken the subway, but *somebody* didn’t like the subway. And, really, it’s always much more interesting to stumble across places we never would’ve made our destination or even our stops along the way than to sit in the swelteringly smelly subway.

But when we finally arrived at the Chelsea Theater, the showing of The Dark Knight we’d planned on was sold out. Sigh.

So we bought tickets for the late-late show and walked down to Jake’s Saloon for drinks and hors d’oeuvres to pass the hours. We talked and I drew on all the napkins, if our collective memory serves.

A little while later, we went back to the theater to find our seats. Somewhere on the way up the three flights between the theater lobby and our seats, Kevin met up with the Hulk. As you can see, they were kindred spirits at the time. (A lot has changed since the summer of 2008, but that green tattoo on the inside of Kevin’s upper right arm won’t be washing off any time soon. ;)

After the epic movie (epic because it was reeaaalllly long, not epic because it was that awesome of a movie … because it wasn’t really, although at least one actor — who’s no longer with us — gave an amazing performance), we walked down to the other corner to catch the train.

It was well after midnight and the Chelsea streets were pretty much deserted. Imagine my surprise when the newspapers and bags piled up around the corner there moved! No matter how many times we visit New York, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks and park benches.

Thank God my Hulk was there to get me safely back to Midtown. :D