Friday, August 21, 2015

Good Story 114: Uncle Tom's Cabin



Julie and Scott spend some time with a couple of saints, a guy named Augustine, a very untidy kitchen, and Simon of Legree. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is the subject of Episode 114!


Download or listen via this link: |Episode #114|

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  • Julie's reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin at her other podcast, Forgotten Classics.


  • Friday, July 31, 2015

    Good Story 113: The Dirty Dozen



    Julie and Scott are dirty enough, but where is the rest of the dozen? The Dirty Dozen (1967) is the subject of Episode 113!


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #113|

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  • Julie's reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin on Forgotten Classics



  • Friday, July 17, 2015

    Good Story 112: The Caine Mutiny (novel)



    Julie and Scott have a lot of very important things to do, but instead of doing those things, they are going to find out who ate the strawberries. They are absolutely sure that one of you people has a key to the refrigerator. Episode 112, The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #112|

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  • Curt Jester's review of The Caine Mutiny


  • Friday, July 3, 2015

    Good Story 111: Life Itself



    Julie and Scott had this great idea for a TV show where they argue about movies every week... and then realize that Roger Ebert already had that idea. They spend an hour talking about him instead. Episode 111, Life Itself: a documentary about Roger Ebert.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #107|

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  • Roger Ebert's website



  • Friday, June 26, 2015

    Good Story 110: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis



    Scott and Julie argue about the meaning of "Only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods." Neighbors tell them to take it to the edge of the woods because it's 2:00 a.m. and "some of us have work in the morning!" They quiet down long enough to discuss Mockingbird by Walter Tevis.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #110|

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    The Mockingbird — A Virtuoso of Variety (from Bird Note podcast)

    COMMENT that was too long for the comments boxes but which I (Julie) thought was well worth reading:
    Hey Scott and Julie,

    My apologies for the length of this email. It was too long for the comment box.

    I started to listen to your podcast on "Mockingbird" by William Tevis. I was intrigued and stopped the podcast immediately so I could read the book. I agree, it is a very good book, highly recommended.

    On the question about who the mockingbird is. I don't think you all went far enough.

    You can make some points about who is mimicking whom. The drugged humans are in a way trying to mimic the robots, who in a way are mimicking humans. Paul and Mary Lou like stories and the old silent movies, and so they are in a way trying to mimic how to be human from them. But I think the strongest case applies to Spofforth.

    1. Did you notice the book starts on page one with the birth or activation of Spofforth and ends on the last page with his death? Does the title of the book point to this fact?

    2. As you all mentioned in the podcast, a mockingbird mimics the songs of other birds. Spofforth often whistled a song that he did not know. He also knew how to play the piano but never encountered a piano to demonstrate his ability.

    Spofforth's mind was an "impression" made from a long dead human engineer. Despite their attempts to erase portions of the engineer's memories and personality, some things remained, like the song he whistled and his piano skills. His mind is an attempt to mimic a human mind.

    3. Spofforth was tortured by a faint memory of a love he never experienced, presumably from an un-erased portion of the dead engineer's mind. We learn of two attempts that Spofforth tried to "mimic" this love. First was early in the book, near the beginning of his life with that girl with the scarlet coat with a black velvet collar. It failed. Near the end of his life, he tries again with Mary Lou. (Even bought a red coat for her too.)

    He even thinks that he fell in love with Mary Lou, any yet it did not satisfy him. His melancholy persisted.

    4. I think part of his melancholy could be due to that he did not have any good role models of humanity to mimic. His mind's impressions of humanity from the dead engineer were missing portions of "humanness". (Like the genetic code for a mockingbird to mimic other birds.) The humans he dealt with were already conditioned to be withdrawn and to rely on drugs to numb and inhibit their humanity. Later, the contraceptives in the drugs further suppress human expression by sharing their humanity with new life. I think he found human contemptible, especially after he told Mary Lou that he wished she would abort the baby.

    You all really hit on a key point about creativity and its connection to being human. None of the humans in the story except for Paul, Mary Lou, and Annabelle created anything. Spofforth could repair things, but not create. Do mockingbirds create new songs, or do they strictly mimic?

    5. Scott brought up the question about the mockingbird being at the edge of the woods--was the mockingbird singing into the woods or away from the woods? Maybe the mockingbird is just being itself on the edge of the woods, singing his song in both directions?

    What if Spofforth, the mockingbird, is mimicking humanity at the "edge of the woods." The one human, Paul, that is stuck in the darkness in the middle of the woods is drawn toward the edge. After all, Paul does go to the university in New York from Ohio. And in the process of the novel, Paul passes from inside the woods to the outside.

    So, I think the mockingbird is Spofforth.

    Did you notice that Mary Lou supplied the missing word "woods" for Spofforth. It completed a line from a half-forgotten poem (I thought Spofforth could not forget anything), "Whose woods these are I think I know. His house..." (Ooo, a Robert Frost poem!)

    Three other points:

    Immolation -- why was this word used for suicide? Immolation means "to kill or offer as a sacrifice, especially by burning." It is a religious term! Who are they offering themselves to? A whole burnt offering for the sins of humanity? For redemption from a Babylonian-like exile from not living their gifted lives?

    The line "My life is light, waiting for the death wind, Like a feather on the back of my hand" is from a poem by T.S. Elliot called, "A Song for Simeon"--the same Simeon who was waiting at the temple for death but not before he saw the Anointed One.

    There is an important and yet subtle scene between Paul and the robot of the thought bus on the way from the town of Maugre to New York. (Did you notice that "Maugre" means in spite of, notwithstanding, to defy? Kind of fits the Baleen family.) It was just prior to the portion you read on the podcast about his appreciation and gratitude of the sunrise, the ability to read, and his wonderment about Jesus as a great man. Before that, Paul had commented on the Old Testament and did not particularly like the book of Job. Somewhere in there (maybe just before or after), he asked the thought bus robot about who he was, as in what was he, what was his purpose, what was the meaning of life? The robot's response was unfulfilling like Job's friends because it seemed to reiterate the slogans of the culture. And then Paul had an experience of transcendence and joy with the sunrise, leading into your comments. (Is the meaning of life beyond words?)

    Maybe that was the real reason for Spofforth's melancholy--he knew or sensed that he could never have a true experience of transcendence. (Falling in love with Mary Lou did not supply it.) And yet Spofforth does in his last moment before his death; he experienced transcendence and joy in a sunrise too. He finally mimics the ultimate human experience, and is satisfied.

    Thank you for a great podcast and the tip onto a great book. Like you all said, things from the book keep popping up.

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Good Story 109: Double Indemnity



    Scott can't find a match for his Camels. Julie wants beer but all they've got is iced tea. Rose's little man is warning her about teaming up with these two — even if it is to talk about Double Indemnity.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #109|

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  • Roger Ebert's Guide to Film Noir - "A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending."


  • Friday, May 22, 2015

    Good Story 108: St. Francis of Assisi



    Julie and Scott discuss St. Francis. They both wonder at the parenting skill of St. Francis' dad, who bought his kid fancy armor and sent him to war with the city next door. ("Have fun storming the castle!") And then they wonder at the rest of the good saint's life. St. Francis of Assisi by G.K Chesteron.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #108|

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    LINKS and EXTRA INFO
  • St. Francis's A Meditation on the "Our Father"

  • Quotes from Encountering Truth by Pope Francis

  • The Joyful Beggar by Louis de Wohl

  • Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, discussed in Episode 7 of Good Story

  • Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition by Louis Markos

  • Who Would Dare to Love ISIS (A Letter From the People of the Cross)

  • Shepherd Book: I brought you some supper. But, if you'd *prefer* a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped. Sin and hellfire. One has lepers.

  • Pope Francis' Miracle
    I meant to bring this up during the podcast, when we were talking about St. Francis and Pope Francis. I wondered if St. Francis's joy was infusing the pope. — Julie
    John Allen says that people keep saying Pope Francis doesn't act like the guy they knew back in Buenos Aires. He's always cared about the poor, but this beaming, shoot-from-the-hip, joyful fellow is someone even his sister says she doesn't recognize. As Allen reports it in his new book, there's a supernatural explanation. And it's one that makes me feel God's giving us the pope He wants us to have. As Allen tells it (whole piece here):
    Over Christmas 2013, a veteran Latin American cardinal who has known Bergoglio for decades made an appointment to see his old friend in the Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where the pope has chosen to reside. (He lives in Room 201, a slightly larger room than the one he stayed in during the conclave that elected him, giving the pontiff enough space to receive guests comfortably).
    The cardinal, who didn’t wish to be named, said he looked at Francis and, referring to the exuberance and spontaneity that are now hallmarks of his public image, said to him point-blank: "You are not the same man I knew in Buenos Aires. What’s happened to you?"
    According to the cardinal, this was Francis’ answer: “On the night of my election, I had an experience of the closeness of God that gave me a great sense of interior freedom and peace," the cardinal quoted the pope as saying, "and that sense has never left me.”

  • MOOR-EEFFOC
    Dickens in an unfinished autobiography:
    In the door there was an oval glass plate, with COFFEE-ROOM painted on it, addressed towards the street. If I ever find myself in a very different kind of coffee-room now, but where there is such an inscription on glass, and read it backward on the wrong side MOOR-EEFFOC (as I often used to do then, in a dismal reverie,) a shock goes through my blood.
    G.K. Chesterton in his book Charles Dickens:
    Herein is the whole secret of that eerie realism with which Dickens could always vitalize some dark or dull corner of London. There are details in the Dickens descriptions - a window, or a railing, or the keyhole of a door - which he endows with demoniac life. The things seem more actual than things really are. Indeed, that degree of realism does not exist in reality: it is the unbearable realism of a dream. And this kind of realism can only be gained by walking dreamily in a place; it cannot be gained by walking observantly. Dickens himself has given a perfect instance of how these nightmare minutiae grew upon him in his trance of abstraction. He mentions among the coffee-shops into which he crept in those wretched days one in St. Martin's Lane, "of which I only recollect that it stood near the church, and that in the door there was an oval glass plate with 'COFFEE ROOM' painted on it, addressed towards the street. If I ever find myself in a very different kind of coffee-room now, but where there is such an inscription on glass, and read it backwards on the wrong side, MOOR EEFFOC (as I often used to do then in a dismal reverie), a shock goes through my blood." That wild word, "Moor Eeffoc," is the motto of all effective realism; it is the masterpiece of the good realistic principle - the principle that the most fantastic thing of all is often the precise fact. And that elvish kind of realism Dickens adopted everywhere. His world was alive with inanimate objects.
    And, finally, not C.S. Lewis but J.R.R. Tolkien in On Fairy Stories:
    The word Mooreeffoc may cause you to realise that England is an utterly alien land, lost either in some remote past age glimpsed by history, or in some strange dim future reached only by a time-machine; to see the amazing oddity and interest of its inhabitants and their customs and feeding-habits.

  • Prayer in front of the Crucifix of San Damiano


    Most High, glorious God,
    enlighten the darkness of my heart
    and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
    sense and knowledge, Lord,
    that I may carry out Your holy and true command. Amen

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    Good Story 107: Frequency



    All these years, Julie and Scott have been recording these podcasts through time. Julie discovers this (because of Scott Pilgrim - long story), and is annoyed that Scott didn't tell her about Google. "Frequency" is the movie, and it has Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, and Andre Braugher. Episode 107!


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #107|

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  • The Bowery Boys, New York History


  • Friday, April 24, 2015

    Good Story 106: Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber



    Julie and Scott fight over the Twinkies. Who gets the miracles and who gets the afflictions?  Episode 106, Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber (#2 in a series, but works perfectly as a stand alone book).


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #106|

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  • Valley of Bones Review at Happy Catholic Bookshelf
  • Friday, April 10, 2015

    Good Story 105: Shall We Dance? (1996)



    Julie and Scott take dancing lessons. The result, of course, is hilarious. Episode 105, Shall We Dance? (1996), directed by Masayuki Suo.


    Download or listen via this link: |Episode #105|

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  • Shall We Dance? on IMDB
  • Lumen Fidei (full English text at the Vatican site)
  • Strictly Ballroom on IMDB