Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Here's Jen's post. As an exercise, I'm going to see if I can write seven quick takes that are actually quick.

1) You know how it can be a bit scary to be alone in a house at night? Why is it that the simple presence of a cat takes away most of the fear? It's not logical, but knowing I'm not the only mammal around makes a big difference.

2) I'm feeding the cat at my parents' house while they're vacationing in Tucson. On Wednesday night I left her outside because I didn't want her to have any accidents inside. But I felt so bad about leaving her in the cold. The next day (yesterday) I arrived at the house at 6 pm and let her in. I gave her more food, but she ignored it and went right upstairs, where she curled up on a bed. I couldn't bear to put her out for another night, so I left her there and went home. This morning around 10:00 am I came by again. Food still untouched. Cat still on bed, right where I left her sixteen hours ago! She got up to greet me. I picked her up and carried her downstairs, petting her while she purred. As soon as I put her down she went right back up to bed! I guess she's making up for a sleepless night out in the cold?

3) I love food, always have. I was never a finicky eater and neither stress nor emotional upset can make me lose my appetite. But as much as I love eating, I think I love sleep more. I can tolerate with some equanimity the suggestions that we ought to fast from food during Lent, but the suggestions that we ought not to sleep too much are hard to bear.

So anyway, I approve the cat's decision to prioritize sleep over food.

(I don't sleep much, really. Not enough, in fact. But I like to keep open the theoretical possibility of sleeping eight hours a night...)

4) I really like that cheerleading Catholic video Jen embeds in her first quick take. None of the reasons it gives are reasons I decided to become Catholic, except for #2-- becoming convinced of the Catholic Church's nature and authority. But all of them are reasons I'm very glad I am Catholic.

5) Because I've completely finished every project and there's nothing else I ought to be doing (extreme irony alert), I've thought of recording a book for People are requesting Cardinal Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua, which is a sort of spiritual autobiography. I think I won't get to it for a while, if ever, but I would so enjoy reading prose like this:

He means by a man who is "silly" not a man who is to be pitied, but a man who is to be abhorred... His simpleton is not a born fool, but a self-made idiot, one who has drugged and abused himself into a shameless depravity; one, who, without any misgiving or remorse, is guilty of drivelling superstition, of reckless violation of sacred things, of fanatical excesses, of passionate inanities, of unmanly audacious tyranny over the weak, meriting the wrath of fathers and brothers.

You could get a whole vocabulary test from that one last sentence. :)

6) I think it's a weakness of G.K. Chesterton's detective stories that he so frequently uses the device of having one character disguise himself as another, so perfectly that nobody suspects and there are no clues of the deception offered to the reader. It's too deus ex machina to keep the reader saying, "Well, the killer can't be the vicar because the vicar wasn't on the boat," only to find out that the killer killed the vicar and has been impersonating him for days without any parishioners noticing.

But I don't read any of Chesterton's fiction for plot; I read it because in it he conveys his philosophical observations and sketches character types and other interesting stuff.

7) I just stayed home sick from work and took the opportunity to watch Captian Blood (1935) and Robin Hood (1938), both starring Errol Flynn with Olivia de Havilland as the heroine and Basil Rathbone as the villain. Really enjoyable movies. I love how Flynn is always striking flamboyant poses and laughing a manly laugh and grinning maniacally as he duels. I love how Olivia in both movies is fiesty and makes Errol work for it. I love that both movies use lots of background extras and don't try to cut costs by limiting the number of actors. I'm too lazy to find out if the movies had the same director-- I know they had the same operatic composer doing the scores-- but both movies show a lot of close-ups with extras blurred in the background, which is more realistic and lively than close-ups normally are. Oh, and I LOVE Olivia's costumes in Robin Hood. Look at this one. They rarely let a heroine cover up that much skin these days, but see how powerful and mysterious and interesting it makes her look? Of course she's also just amazingly beautiful.

Have you seen the first Pirates of the Carribbean movie? Then see Captain Blood and you'll realize how much plot and inspiration the former took from the latter.

Oh, and what's this I hear about Russell Crowe being cast as Robin Hood in a new movie version? BAD casting choice! Very, very bad! Let Crowe play Captain Aubrey; he was perfect for that, but he's way too ponderous for Robin! But then, so was Kevin Costner. You know what, I think we're incapable of producing a proper Robin Hood these days because heroes have become too cool to enjoy themselves. Erroll's Robin went bounding up castle stairs and flying through treetops because he took himself lightly. He had real humor, and humility; he laughed uproariously when he was beaten by Little John at quarterstaffs and Friar Tuck at swordfighting. He wasn't a haunted man. He was more like a medieval hero; he was mischievous and he had fun. Costner didn't, and Crowe won't either; that's not the kind of character they play.

Perhaps this maxim will work: if you can't see him wearing green tights, he's not a good choice for Robin Hood.

All right, the last take wasn't all that quick, but I'm getting better!


Anonymous said...

Our cat peed on one of my textbooks today.

It's a horrible textbook, so in that I approve. I just hope I passed the course so I don't have to use it anymore!

So be careful, and don't let the cuteness fool you :)

One of the things I love about old movies is that they're clean. I'm not prudish about new movies, but subconsciously I am bracing myself against the skin, the language and the violence... and an older movie every now and then is so very relaxing :) I will have to see if our local DVD store carries those two...

Eanah said...

I need sleep much more than I need food, but then, I'm not really motivated by food at all. But if I've been up all night working on something, and have forgotten to eat dinner, which is a fairly regular occurrence for me, and the choice comes down to eating or sleeping, I'll go with sleeping, because even if I have a hunger headache, I won't feel it while I'm asleep! And I can eat at work the next day to make up for the missed meal, but my boss would likely frown upon me sleeping at work. ;-)

Mery Widjaja said...

#3, that is why I like my SD for setting up 7 hour rule sleep for me. And actually, if I have enough sleep, I tend not to eat much.

Father Schnippel said...

Best Robin Hood for my money: Carey Elwes in 'Men in Tights'

And on that thought, off to Mass!

Rachel Gray said...

Venite, being able to relax without an assault on my morals is a big part of the reason I love old movies too. Some of the best were made when the Hollywood morals code was strictest-- producers couldn't appeal to prurience and had to come up with interesting dialogue instead.

Eanah, I'll never understand how it's possible to forget to eat. :) But at least no one forgets to sleep. (Do they?)

Mery, I've noticed the same thing-- if I'm sleep deprived my eating gets out of hand.

And Father, I'd love to hear the homily you gave at that Mass. :)