Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Next Time You Want to See a Movie, It Had Better be a Disney Movie!"

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today's post is one I've thought about doing for a long time now. It just fits the occasion. Back in 1973, I talked two friends, Shirley and Yvonne, into going to see The Exorcist. They were reluctant at first, but allowed themselves to be persuaded. If you've seen the movie, you know there are a couple of real appetite-killing onscreen moments. During one of those moments, both of my friends abruptly shoved their bags of chips at me. Being stuck in the middle between two unhappy moviegoers can be an awkward thing.

As we were leaving the theater, they issued a warning: "Next time you want to see a movie, it had better be a Disney movie!"

The following year, I transferred from Jefferson College to Saint Louis University. That was where I learned the true story behind The Exorcist. It was legend around the campus. The exorcism on which the movie and William Peter Blatty's novel were based took place at SLU. The details can be found on the University's website, but the child who was believed to be possessed was a boy, not a girl as was the case in the movie. The child, known only under an alias, was from the Washington DC area, but was brought here to a relative's home. The Jesuits performed the rituals at three locations--the relatives' home in Bel-Nor, the Jesuit rectory at St. Francis Xavier College Church on the SLU campus, and at the Alexian Brothers Hospital in south St. Louis. The old rectory was torn down and replaced in 1966; the hospital building where the final days of the exorcism took place was leveled and rebuilt in 1978. 

Yes, I've wondered if the destruction of those two buildings had anything to do with the exorcism....


Saturday, October 14, 2017

New Takes on a Not-So-Old Idea

I did promise fun today, didn't I? Let's see if this post delivers.

I've published (or more appropriately, re-published) six of my previous books with Creativia--but for the new books, which may finally be finished soon, thanks to my wonderful doctors (Dr. P. and Dr. B., take a bow!), Collin and I are considering going it on our own--especially now that Collin and his partner, William, are contemplating an audiobook publishing venture of their own.

I've been playing around with photoediting apps on my tablets for a while now. I posted some of the results here a while back. I decided I'd take a shot at "enhancing" some of Collin's cover ideas. Tell me what you think of these versions of Superhero in Training.

See anything here with potential?

These were just for fun, but....

Two of them are missing...I had one with weird colors, and another with a cat's paw clawing the dog's face....

Friday, October 13, 2017

They're Always Your Baby, No Matter How Old They Are!

The post I had planned for today will have to wait until tomorrow. I promise it will be something fun and Trump-free, so barf bags will not be needed.

I once told Collin that when he's eighty, he's still going to be my baby. His response? "When I'm eighty, you'll be dead." He has so many good traits...but diplomacy isn't one of them. I guess he gets that from me. He calls it like he sees it.

Some of you know that he's been having health issues for the past couple of weeks. He has arthritis in his ankles and feet. We've known that for over a year. He had to quit his job at IHOP because of it. But he actually likes serving, so a few months ago, he went back to it, in spite of my warnings to him that arthritis doesn't just go away. It can be managed (sometimes), but never cured. When walking was no longer easy, I refrained from my usual barrage of "I told you so." (I'm reserving them for another disaster on the horizon, for those who made said disaster possible--thankfully, Collin is not guilty of that one!) 

No, instead of rubbing his nose in it, I urged him to schedule an appointment with his orthopedic surgeon--but first, he had to see his primary care doctor. That appointment was yesterday. He could barely walk. I'd asked our friend Carolyn about borrowing a wheelchair, but we haven't been able to pick it up yet. So as we were walking up the sidewalk to the medical building, Collin lost his balance and almost fell. How I managed to hold him up, given that he's much bigger than I am, can only be attributed to divine intervention. I got him into the building, where wheelchairs are available for patient use. Again, I'm not sure how I managed to navigate it into the elevator and up to his doctor's office on the second floor, but we made it.

Because Collin had been having other symptoms like way too much sleeping, loss of appetite and vomiting, it made sense to see his primary doctor first. She ordered some lab tests--and an MRI of his spine. We had to wait around a couple of hours for the MRI, so Carolyn, who was coming from an appointment nearby, came to wait it out with us...and brought lunch. I tried to stay optimistic for Collin, but I think every imaginable worst case scenario ran through my head in that two hours.

Yep, he's still my baby. And my baby was in trouble.

We got the test results last night. He has arthritis in his spine and a small benign tumor, called a hemangioma, near the T12 (where the thoracic section becomes the lumbar section of the spinal column). What does that mean? I haven't a clue. We'll know more when he sees both of his doctors next week.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Changing Face of Evil--Or Has it Really Changed at All?

The news is currently all about the mass shooting in Las Vegas--over fifty people dead, over five hundred injured. The shooter, by all accounts, has nothing in his background to indicate he would even contemplate such a thing, let alone plan it so meticulously. Will we ever know why he did it?  Even if we do ever discover his motive, it's not going to make sense.

Terrorist attacks around the world...suicide bombers...serial killers...all faces of evil. The loving mother who suddenly murdered her small children...the son who plotted the murder of his own mother...the monster who encountered two young girls hiking in what should have been a safe area killed them after doing God only knows what to them. Again, the faces of real evil. There was a story in the news a while back about a cop--in New York, I believe--who fantasized about raping women, then eating them. If that's not pure evil, I don't know what is.

These acts of evil are becoming more common every day. There was a time they were only seen with any regularity in movies. I'm thinking of the Omen movies as an example.The first movie started with a stillborn baby who was later found to have been murdered so a priest under Satan's control could convince the dead child's father, an ambassador, to pass a baby he was told had been orphaned off as his own. The child's nanny took her own life in a horrific act to open the door for one of Satan's apostates to step in and serve as his protector. When another priest tried to warn the ambassador of what was to come, he died in a freak accident. The ambassador's wife was killed when she became pregnant again. A photographer who stumbled onto the truth was decapitated. 

In the second movie, an executive, a scientist and an elderly woman who controlled a large portion of the family fortune all died in "accidents." A cousin who discovered the truth suddenly collapsed--an aneurysm, according to the death certificate. By the third movie, the child was an adult beginning his rise to power. The US Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain), suddenly committed suicide in front of a group of reporters--after which Damien Thorn, aka the antichrist, was appointed as his replacement. A group of monks chosen to deal with him were killed, one by one. Anyone who got in his way was eliminated. When he was certain Christ was about to return, he ordered the elimination of all children born on March 24th. Among the executioners were a priest, a neonatal nurse and a pair of boy scouts. weird, huh? Ironically, the antichrist was stopped by the ultimate skeptic--a reporter.

Yes, these were movies. I'm not trivializing what happened in Las Vegas, just making a comparison. Killing without apparent reason. It raises a question that's been asked many times before: does true evil exist?

Many neuroscientists say no. They content that evil acts are the result of a glitch in the brain. Others, like blogger Richard Koch, are more open to the idea. I believe, without as doubt, that evil does exist, and that the potential for both exists in each of us. Which way we go is a choice we have to make. The problem is that too many don't believe evil exists, which makes them more vulnerable to it. Those of us who know it's there are on guard against it. Most of us, anyway. I've seen some, quite recently, who became so sure of themselves and their ability to deal with it, their arrogance inevitably led to their downfall.

Just think about it. That's all I ask.