Gray hats

I recently watched the first season of the BBC series “Sherlock,” a modern-take on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories.  (Two disclaimers – I have not seen season two of the series, but wouldn’t recommend it based on a few things I’ve heard, and I’ve never seen the Robert Downey, Jr movies, so I don’t know how they compare.)  I found the series highly entertaining, especially for avid Holmes fans, who will notice many clever tributes to the original stories.  It was intriguing to see how the writers adapted not just the characters (Watson, for example, was wounded in modern Afghanistan, just as the Doyle has him wounded there in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, but he blogs about Holmes’ escapades instead of publishing them) but also the small details of the cases (Holmes surmises someone is an alcoholic — not because their pocketwatch is scratched where an unsteady hand wound it every night, but because their cell phone is scratched where an unsteady hand plugged it into the charger).  While the homosexual jokes got old, I found the three episodes, on the whole, quite enjoyable.

They did inspire me to re-read the original stories, something I haven’t done yet but hope to soon.  One thing I’d like to investigate are the character traits of Holmes. In the BBC series, he is odd, rude, and conceited.  Was he always like this?  Did I just manage to look the other way?  I always really liked Sherlock Holmes… was I blind to his personality?  How much of this Holmes was the product of the writers’ interpretation and how much was authentic?

By the third episode, my hero was no hero at all.  He saved lives and outsmarted criminals and his eccentricity was strangely charismatic.  He had grown on me.  But a man in a white hat, he was not.  And then he admitted himself:

“Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist and if they did I wouldn’t be one of them.”

How depressing.

That led me to ponder the rise of the antihero.  I remember reading an article after the release of Spiderman 2 that bemoaned that fact that even our superheroes had become melodramatic and fickle.  Peter Parker was going emo on us, wondering if he should still be Spiderman.  Superman Returns gave us another emo superhero that lacked a little super and that almost lost Lois to James Marsden.  What was the world coming to?

It’s nothing new, of course – antiheroes have been with us in literature for quite some time.  But these days they seem to dominate the landscape.  The larger-than-life, white-hat-wearing heroes seem almost non-existent in television and movies, and coupled with the fact that they seem less prevalent in real life, too, the antihero seems to be the best we can do.

I know some will say it’s art imitating life.  We live in a fallen world, and it’s not realistic to have sinless, irreproachable characters.

But golly, can’t we have something to strive for?  Maybe every father isn’t Ward Cleaver.  But every father isn’t Al Bundy, either.  I think our lives could use a little more Mr. Cunningham and Dr. Huxtable. (This is an interesting look at the way television father’s have changed since the days of Mr. Cleaver: Ten TV Dads, chronologically)

What’s wrong with holding someone up as a model – a hero-  someone we can really emulate?  When my favorite character from a current BBC show fell last Sunday, I almost threw something at the television.  Until now, he had been strong, wise, and loving while his world was at war (literally).  He had shown compassion to servants, love to his wife, constancy amidst strife, humor and patience with the six women in his life.  He seemed to be the rock, the one who held the world together.

But he’s only human, the show’s creators seemed to want to show us.

Oh, so it’s too much to expect all that from a man?  Strength, love, wisdom, constancy, compassion, humor, patience.  That’s not realistic?

What a sad view of the world.

Bring back the white hat, and maybe some men will rise up to be worthy of it.


Redneck First-World Problem

My friend Liza has this hilarious quip when she has a complaint that can hardly constitute a real complaint if you stop to think about how lucky we all are.  For example, if you have trouble scheduling your pedicure appointment, or if your iPad has trouble keeping a charge, she quips, “I know, first-world problem.”

Well, tonight I have a redneck first world problem.

Coverage of the Bristol night race has been bumped by a dumb NFL exhibition game! ARGH!

Do I blame ABC?  Or do I blame every single Titans football fan?

This is the Bristol night race, people!


Now, I realize that our country is currently suffering from a natural disaster.  So it hardly seems fair to complain that I can’t watch my NASCAR race.

But I’m still doing it.

UPDATE: Hey, this was my 200th post.  Exciting!  And I used it on a first-world rant.  About Nascar.

Next Food Network Star

I’m sitting here watching my guilty pleasure– the Next Food Network Star.  But it’s actually “guiltier” than that — it’s the one hour “reunion” special before the finale.  We’ve watched these people for the last few months, and now we’re watching a “reunion”???  Shouldn’t that word be reserved for people who have been apart for, say, several YEARS?

Anyway, I thought about “live-blogging” the finale, but I realized all I really want to say is:

Bobby Flay in a three-piece suit.


The end.

reflections on reflections

I am sitting here drinking coffee and eating my breakfast, in an attempt to remain awake for a few more hours- at least through morning Mass.  My sleep schedule is so thrown off that it’s hard to believe it’s only 6:43am.  I’ve been up for almost 5 1/2 hours.

I went to bed yesterday afternoon at 6 so that I would be refreshed enough to take in the beatification with all my sense faculties.  I drove over to my friend Maria’s house, where we watched it together in the wee hours of the morning.

I contemplated “live blogging” through the event, knowing that no one would be reading it as I wrote, but just for the sake of capturing my thoughts during the historic Mass.  I decided against it, preferring to reflect on it at a later moment when I have had time for it to sink in.  In this era of instant communication, there’s a desire to express oneself immediately, to share thoughts as they come so as to live the moment together, in a way.

But in sharing thoughts as they come, we often sacrifice sharing insights and reflections.  Experiencing a moment, ruminating on it, and expressing one’s thoughts afterwards is too slow, too tardy for audiences who have gone on to the next event.

So as I sit here and drink my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, wishing it was espresso from Sant’Eustachio, I put off blogging about the glorious events of this morning for another day – at the risk of being outdated, but in the hopes of being worthwhile.

Since I didn’t live-blog, you are saved from comments such as, “Why won’t they tell us the identity of that bald man they keep showing?” (the president of Italy) or vents like “Why did EWTN stop coverage so soon?” (I turned to YouTube and was able to watch the Holy Father go into the Basilica to pray in front of the casket.)

U-Mark, let’s compare notes — I counted three appearances of Msgr. Ganswein, although I was distracted at the start of the homily (or maybe it was the end) and so I didn’t see if he delivered the homily to the Holy Father or took it back at the end.  He was visible at the entrance procession in the PopeMobile, at the Regina Coeli, and at the end when they went into the Basilica.

I do think some network should hire me to do commentary, however, because all morning I would make comments just before the commentators would or I would answer their questions.  But I’ve been saying that for awhile now. My acquaintance Mary will be doing the commentary tomorrow for the Mass of Thanksgiving, thank goodness.

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!

I’ll watch the highlights

A lot of people asked me if I’m going to wake up early tomorrow.   I’m sort of jealous of my friends that live in Hawaii.  They can catch at least the beginning of the wedding before heading to bed.

No, I’m not waking up to watch the wedding.  Like I told my mom — it’s like a sporting event.  At the time, you feel like you should lose sleep watching the game/match/race.  But in the end, you might as well go to bed.  You can see the score in the morning.

So I’m not going to lose sleep over it.  I’ll check out the highlights for the next month when everyone continues to talk about her dress, the flowers, the procession, and the color of the Queen’s hat.

I’m basically interested in two things — her dress and the music.  (Anglicans have good music.)  The music question was pretty much answered here: Music for the Wedding Service.  And really, this website answers almost any question you might have, minus the dress:

As for Sunday — well, I’ll be waking up early to watch the beatification of John Paul II.  That’s different. : )


Sorry I haven’t blogged lately.  And I’m sorry I left a post about ice cream up so long into Lent.

I don’t have enough for a real post, so I thought I’d give a smattering.  Sort of like “quick takes,” a wonderful idea from Jen of Conversion Diary.  The only problem is that it isn’t Friday, so I’m either a little late or a little early.  And I don’t think I have 7.  but here we go.

1) I read all weekend.  Well, almost all weekend.  After I saw the BBC mini-series North & South (fantastic– please, go watch it right now) I decided I wanted to read the Elizabeth Gaskell novel on which it was based.  After seeing the mini-series Wives & Daughters, also based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, I began that book and really liked it, but unfortunately began it on a plane to Rome… so I didn’t finish it (Rome got in the way) and then had to leave the book behind in Rome because it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase.  (I also had to leave a pair of shoes.  Among other things.)

So I got North & South from the library, but had to get it from Inter-Library Loan — and then forgot to renew it when I needed to… and it was due today.  I’m really bad with overdue books, so I really wanted to return it today.  That meant I had 300+ pages to read this weekend.  And I did it!

It was a good book, although I wouldn’t say go out and read it right now… while I would tell you to go watch the mini-series right now.  Oh, wait, I already did.

2) This Saturday was absolutely gorgeous.  So I did take a break from reading to go on a walk.

3) I love OnDemand.  I missed two of my food shows last night — Next Great Restaurant on NBC (which I watch almost exclusively for Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone) and Chopped All Stars, but I was okay missing them because I knew I could watch them tonight OnDemand.

4) I’m throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party on Thursday.  It was something I had been thinking of for awhile, and yet I feel like I just decided to do it out of the blue.  Maybe because I have absolutely nothing I need for it.   Except for Irish music.  I have that.

5) Why hasn’t anyone told me that eggs & cream cheese together on a bagel is really good?  It’s probably really bad for me, but its so yummy.  There’s a little coffeeshop near my apartment that serves bagel sandwiches until 10am.  I went once after Mass and had a really delicious one… but it was sort of a fluke, because it was after 10 and they still made it for me.  (I didn’t even see the sign that says they only serve until 10).  The next time I went, they said they couldn’t make it — it was 10:15.  Jeesh.  10:15 is still breakfast time!  Well, it’s impossible for me to go to 8:30am Mass, make a nice thanksgiving after Mass, socialize with anyone outside of church, and then get to the coffeeshop by 10.  So I decided to just make my own sandwich.  It’s slightly modified from their recipe:

1 multigrain bagel

1 egg, scrambled.

1 slice of Havarti cheese, melted on one side of the bagel

a thin layer of vegetable cream cheese (Neufchatel, to be exact) on the other side of the bagel

fresh spinach


That’s it for now.