10 thoughts after a Marvel binge watch

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Last week I spent three nights with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wednesday night I watched Avengers: Infinity War, Thursday was Avengers: Endgame, and Friday night Red and I finally took in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

1. Robert Downey Jr. ought to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Tony Stark. Period, end of conversation, forget about it.

2. Avengers: Endgame ought to win Best Picture, unless Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker turns out even better.

3. That moment in an action thriller when you know the villain is toast and the good guys are about to deliver a whooping? For me, it was when Elizabeth Olson as the Scarlet Witch arrived to face Thanos and said, “You – took – everything – from me.” She only had a few seconds of screentime in Endgame, but it was chillingly awesome, and the ensuing beat-down was wildly satisfying. Continue reading “10 thoughts after a Marvel binge watch”

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We want to be peaceful

2904 we want to be peaceful

News note: 50 years ago this month, the St. Norbert College chapter of Students for a Democratic Society quietly disbanded. “We want to be peaceful – completely nonviolent and peaceful,” chapter president Greg McHugh said. “SDS no longer represents all students, but only those seeking violent revolution.”

In this time, when the president is a caricature, and left and right alike seek blood at every turn, where are those who want to be peaceful – completely nonviolent and peaceful? Does anyone really want this to be a violent and aggressive world? Besides the mad, that is?

As precious and special as life is, why would anyone sane wish to extinguish as many lives as possible in one fell swoop? Why would anyone sane wish to obliterate a single life?

“You can’t beat us,” the bullies sometimes tell us.

Malcolm Reynolds, stalwart captain of the space freighter Serenity, had the best-ever response: “I got no need to beat you. I just want to go my way.”

Moose and gnome

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There was a gnome who came to live with the moose who sat on the shelf all day.

“You’re cute,” said the moose. “Not as cute as I am, perhaps, but you’ll do.”

“Why are we here?” asked the gnome. “What does it all mean?”

“We make people smile,” said the wise moose. “That is meaning enough.”

The insidious weathermen

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Meteorologists’ job seems to be to make us uncomfortable with what we have.

It’s either too hot or too cold. (Or it’s too humid or too rainy or too sunny.)

Are they fomenting revolution or at least unhappiness? Something is wrong whether it is or it isn’t. “It’s going to be not-ideal, but wait a while and it’ll get better.” “It’s a beautiful day, but don’t worry, storm clouds are on the horizon to ruin it.”

They seem happiest when cruising through a terrible storm, a madness of nature that threatens doom.

“Hi, it’s me with the weather to tell you no matter how wonderful life is, eventually something will come along to destroy all you know. Don’t be happy in the present moment, because this will pass and you need to be ready for the pain and the sorrow and the disappointment. Clouds will thicken, sure as the sun rises and sets.”

Take it as it comes, sunny or cloudy, and try not to fret. Something bad is always in the forecast if you look for it, but so is something good.

A promise in the beginning

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Once upon a time there – was there ever a time or place? Once upon a time in a town with a name like any old name, any old bunch of any old guys woke up to any old day, or at least they thought so. Before they turned in that night, they had learned that this was one of those newfangled days that changed all of their assumptions about everything they thought they knew about their town, its name, themselves, and time itself.

[The beginning of a story is a promise. Before you declare a story finished – or a poem, or a song, or a piece of furniture, or any venture, check to make sure you kept your promise.]

On what comes next

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Next …

Always what’s next …

It’s good to have a next, you know.

Finished is better than good – but good is important – so make it as good as you can, but don’t try so hard to make it good that you never finish. Projects get finished. Finish what you start. Fix it later, or live with the flaws, but finish.

And then move on to the next. It’s good to have a next.

Fearless love endures

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It’s as if a thousand voices were raised in alarm specifically to drag you in. “Why aren’t you angry? You should be upset, you have to be scared if something – isn’t – done. Many might die if it isn’t changed, and by ‘Many’ we mean you. Be afraid, be very afraid, because they’re coming for you, it’s going to overtake you – Don’t look back, because something may be gaining on you.” (Satchel Paige?)

I call BS. I call for peace. I call for light and knowledge and peeling away the anger and the anxiety and the fear and the sadness. I call for life and letting it be.

Every One Of Us needs respect – no, love – Give love and it will be given, not right away perhaps and not for a long time perhaps, but love and fearlessness – fearless love – endures. Fearless Love Endures.

When someone strikes you, smile in love.

When someone insults you, smile in love.

They strike and they insult that which they don’t understand. They wish you to join them in ignorance and anger and hate – Hatred drives violence – Violence is an act of hatred. The cycle will be broken only when hatred is replaced by love, when the fist is uncurled to a hand of friendship.

Few wish to hate. It is far easier to live in peace than to agitate emotions and fuel hatred. “Live and let live” is a simpler creed than “Yield to my will.” Force is not needed to live and let live; the only energy expended is in the living. Bending a will takes agitation and even violence; relax the mind and it unfolds into peace.

When love is the impetus, others respond. The walls fall. The hatred is questioned, and the violent ones hesitate.

I say a sickness overtakes the hateful, the violent. The anger is a symptom of the disease. The slap and the insult are manifestations of the soul-cancer eating away at the person who slaps and insults. Try instead to understand.

Did I say love is easy? In its most natural state, yes – as easy as drinking in the sun and feeling the grandeur of a sunrise. In the face of hatred and violence, love can be an extreme effort – the disease is so contagious, it is easy to catch the anger and the fear and turn it back where it came from. Love the transgressor, love the ravager of peace and love, love the war monger and oppressor? Yes: Love. Those who love in the face of pure hatred may be ridiculed, martyred even, but the act of love will be remembered long after the purveyors of hate are dust in the wind. Love prevails. Love endures.