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K-drama Review: Because This Is My First Life

This will be more a review of the second half of this sweet contemplation on couples in their thirties trying to adjust to the work, social, and romance demands that come with being an adult. For my thoughts on the first part, please see Winter’s Last Hurrah. Because This Is My First Life stars Lee Min Ki (Shut Up Flower Boy Band) and the awesome Jung So Min (The Smile Has Left Your Eyes). The writing of this series is good, which is always a helpful thing when one of the characters is a writer, too. Somehow, the show managed to hit the right combination of sentimentality, comedy, and drama.

Would you enter a contract marriage? In America, living together while not being married is pretty commonplace, so it’s more difficult to imagine that people would find it necessary to do a contract marriage unless some huge amount of money was involved or some high stakes circumstances. South Korea’s a bit more conservative and traditional still, so the plot works in this show and they highlight especially the family pressure on the two: Living as landlord and tenant like they want to do would not be at all acceptable to their families.

Would I enter into a contract marriage? As a forty-something-year-old single lady, spinster if we were in Jane Austen’s world, the thought of it is sometimes tempting. Dating has never really been a fun thought for me, though romance and marriage always have been. And my family is conservative Christian, so living together wouldn’t be acceptable, for me or for them. I just couldn’t carry on the charade. And they’d be so disappointed with the lie and really disappointed that there was no love, not to mention being a huge diss on the institution of marriage itself. We often joke about marriage being just a contract, but it’s not, it’s absolutely not. It’s a commitment unlike any other, which is why so many cohabitate instead of taking the plunge. Jumping with both feet in takes real courage, and I don’t get writers like Agatha Christie, for example, in which her characters get married after a couple of weeks. It boggles the mind. Besides, what would I have to offer in a contract marriage: Money? Nope. Carnal favors? Yikes. No, marriage for me would have to be about love, but it is hard sometimes. I have four weddings to go to this spring and summer and they are all for beautiful young women in love and loved, and it seems something, well, only for the young. It seems something that’s passed me by, or I’ve passed it by. Did I mention it’s going to be a difficult season?

Back to the review: I last watched, I think, episode six, when writing the first half review, and the writers had just introduced a corny love triangle. I am happy to report that the love triangle really isn’t one, merely a vehicle to test the main characters’ contract–is it really that, or is their marriage more a real marriage than they want to acknowledge? Of course it’s the latter. Both have already given each other their hearts by this time, and there’s no going back. The biggest problem they have, is really the Korean traditions of one having to help one’s in-laws for certain events. We have a little bit of this in America, but it’s not this pressure of making one person do all the work for something just because they are the new daughter-in-law.

On the night they first met, Jung So Min’s character, Ji Ho, kissed Lee Min Ki’s Se Hee out of the blue because she’d never kissed anyone before and wanted to have a first kiss. Later on, when he’s acknowledging how into her he is, he scoffs, “That wasn’t a kiss, that was a peck, a touching of lips at most,” and shows her what real kiss is. It was very swoon worthy and had me thinking of Crocodile Dundee: “That’s not a knife, this is a knife.” ūüôā Se Hee is so hilariously robotic and analytic, yet he is sweet and alluring as a man in love, and probably more dangerous, too. His goal is simply to not be a hindrance to Ji Ho. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is. Like I said before, there was no way she would not fall for him. He’s offering her safety, stability, security, and love that allows her to be who she is instead of asking her to become a pretzel.

More on the pretzel thing: A few posts ago, I talked about Alison Armstrong, her Keys to the Kingdom and The Queen’s Code. Because she’s truly curious, Armstrong has a learned a lot about men, women, and their differences. She often gives the advice: Don’t go for the people you’re super physically attracted to. It will never work. Why? You can’t be yourself. You won’t be yourself, you will constantly be trying to be someone else that you think will impress them. And you won’t be able to turn that off. It’s true, when you think about it. Mostly, I hate all exercise except walking and dancing, and I have professed a profound interest and love in running all to impress a guy that would have never have been the right one for, and who would have never been right for me. I know now, I would have exhausted myself, turning myself into a pretzel for him and still wouldn’t have felt good enough. Armstrong says it best: The people you’re most attracted to, don’t really like you, mostly because they’ve never met you and never will. The people who are attracted to you, but you’re not so physically into them, they’ve actually met you and know you quite well, which is why they like you so much. She says if you’re not having any luck in romance, to give those people a chance. Se Hee’s kind of that man that’s not super attractive, mostly due to his manner, but for the woman he loves–and the love probably came a lot sooner that he thinks it did–he is gold. He is the perfect one for her. With him, she is loved for who she is and she doesn’t have to be somebody else to please him.

The two of them do end up happy, though it takes a mild separation for them to get there. They first have to acknowledge just how much they’ve been dissing marriage and each other, as a whole, but they do end up getting married for real, but keep their “contract” part for fun. And that is great, because, that kind of communication about the relationship is vital to keep it going. They assess where they are, what their expectations are of each other, etc. It’s actually very romantic. As for the other couples, they, too, end up happy, but the women especially have to put aside timelines and expectations. There’s no year in life in which you absolutely have to be married by or have a baby by. Some people have families under the most dire of circumstances and thrive; for others, not even a six-figure salary and a mansion is enough. The question is, what do you want? Do you want marriage? Is it something you can plan for or do you just want to jump in with both feet?

Babies are trickier. In our whole march on the feminism road, we often forget that women’s bodies are built to have babies when their young. Instead it’s encourage in their 30s or even 40s and more as an afterthought after they’ve accomplished career goals or other kinds of goals. As a woman whose time is running out, whose biological clock is ticking: Don’t wait. Your body will drive you crazy wanting to make a baby, and failing the ability to do that, you will want to mother and take care of everyone–the whole world!–with comedic, yet, decidedly disastrous results. All I’m saying is if you’re in your twenties now, I can say as a forty-one year old, you might someday regret that you didn’t have children sooner, and this is a choice that cannot be corrected. There’s no cure. You could have a baby in your forties, but you would every day realize how much easier it would be if your body was younger. Am I being too depressing? I don’t mean to be, it’s just as a person ages, you start to look back on your life and see all the missed chances. The times where if you’d just taken the time to stop, or given that person a chance, that maybe now, you might be so happy in love and family. And I expect it only the gets worse the older one gets. I don’t see it as anything to be depressed over, just contemplating the new perspectives, the new information. Because this is my first life. As Se Hee says, this is all our first lives. We’ve never done this before, and of course we will make mistakes.

Honestly, I am glad to be a Christian where we only have one life to live. If I could go back and relive my life, not only would I likely make the exact same mistakes, but I’d probably make even worse mistakes and would always have the memory of how the first life went a lot better when I couldn’t anticipate what was coming. Like a time traveler who keeps going back to save the life of the woman he loves, but he can never do it. She was always supposed to die. You were always supposed to be as you are now and with who you are with now. Reliving life won’t make you a cooler more sexy person. You might win at sports gambling, but if you didn’t have money in your first life, in your second you probably wouldn’t be able to hang on to it. This first and only life is precious, every second. And a commitment like marriage should be honored, not brushed off as merely a business contract. If it’s a contract, it’s one of the heart, and hearts shouldn’t be navigated idly. Who can win another’s heart? It’s just given, isn’t it? In this, our first lives, we should appreciate that.

Love Cooking

Is there anything better than cooking for those one loves? Well, maybe eating a dish someone who loves you made you is a close second, but any work, any toil, becomes a wonderful thing if you’re doing it for the love of others. On this eve before Easter morning, I think of the great spread and banquet in heaven waiting all believers in Jesus Christ someday. It will be feasting and drinking that will never end, as that’s how great our God and Savior is! Is, because Jesus lives! He rose from the dead, conquering death, sin, and the devil for all time and eternity.

I sit on my comfy couch, thinking of the pleasant day I had with my family getting ready for tomorrow. My signature dish, an Indian khorma made with chicken, is bubbling away on my gas stove and the house smells glorious and exotic. The spices sink into everything and I will probably smell of food at church tomorrow, even after I shower well and put on my spring dress and sandals. This korma is a dish of love, and it smells so much better than when I only make it for me. Ok, that doesn’t really make sense, but neither does love, so there. I am glad I was able to make it again as I found some garam masala that was the right taste.

Years ago, shortly after I graduated college and was firmly obsessed with India, and especially Bollywood, I made this dish for the first time. It tasted alright, but, wow, did it take me forever, as at that time I was not a cook. It took me half and hour just to chop the onions, and even longer to cook them, as I was too afraid of burning them, that I didn’t give them enough heat. But, try after try, and the khorma became a constant request from both friends and family. And now it’s back in my life like a old friend and I feel like pulling out my Shahrukh Khan films and Bollywood soundtracks. Will I ever visit India again? Not sure. It’s an overwhelming place where I almost died due to my own recklessness. Getting used to food bacteria in China does not mean one will fare well with bacteria in India. I should have skipped the ice-cream shake made with tap water, no matter how hot it was outside.

Really, I can’t think of another dish I like cooking so much for people. I do have a recipe for bacon-wrapped water chestnuts that’s rather popular, but it’s not quite the same caliber. Kimchi fried rice might be a contestant, but I haven’t really made it for many people yet. Mostly it’s become a recurring lunch staple for me. Butter chicken. That could be it, but it’s never quite as popular as the khorma. Maybe it’s because I add spinach. Why would anyone add spinach to the meat candy that is butter chicken? True, adding too much can give the dish a bit of a sour taste, but I thought it would be something “healthy” to add. I put that in quotes because who knows what’s healthy is these days? When my mom was in college it was “everything in moderation.” These days, it’s: Eat only these certain kinds of food and nothing else. Only meat. Only vegetables. Only fruit. We’ve made eating and cooking into a morality tale that it was never intended to be.

Food is sustenance, food is nutrition. Food really has nothing to do with morality, and we are all so different, different bodies, different blood types. Can we really all have the same diet? Does even everything in moderation work for everyone? How about garlic? This khorma has enough garlic to kill twenty vampires and it will be delicious. Eat and eat well. Eat food that sustains you and keeps you and your family running on all cylinders and out and about doing their thing. Love cooking and cook with love. Cook nutritious, sustaining food. What more can we ask of food? Eat and be satisfied: That’s the goal. Love food, love cooking, love people.

This Is for All the Marbles

This week’s been a bit tiring, so I didn’t get in as much reading and/or watching as I wanted to in order to post a review. After 2+ years I am still reading War & Peace, but I am still reading! It’s a sad story so far, and so…human. People are awful to themselves and to each other, and this causes so much unnecessary conflict and heartache in the world. I am also almost halfway through Silence by Shusaku Endo. The missionary life is so unique no matter what country you’re in. It’s at once so much easier to witness to the truth of Christ, but so much harder. Anyway, more on that when I finish reading it. As for Kdramas: I am almost done with Devilish Joy (odd title) and hope to have a review up soon.

On to some fun stuff, if one considers politics fun: If one is winning, politics can be very, very fun. A few times I have mention Q or Q-anon. If you search for this person/team/phenomenon, you will find many, almost too many articles writing it off as a “conspiracy theory.” The older I get the more I realize that things are lumped into a category of conspiracy theory in order to get the questions to stop. Since the dawn of time those in power have been lying to those not in power, mostly to keep their power, but for various other reasons, and sometimes just because they can. Conspiracy theories actually have a lot of truth at the heart of them, one just has to get past the idea that the government or the media or whoever has been telling the truth this whole time. In many, many instances they have not been telling the truth. Sometimes it’s staggeringly because they don’t know, especially when it comes to truths about the natural world or what we call “science.” I don’t know what science actually is. I know what we’re taught it is, but what it actually is has nothing to do with the truth or seeking it out.

But I digress. Back to Q. Q, who says he/they are “military planning at his finest,” is starting to have a very, very good year. Q has been posting on 4-chan, and now 8-chan since the fall of 2017. The other anons or anonymous posters on the chans have been doing research on the information that Q drops. It’s a lot of info that is often expressed vaguely. This is understandable: Q is supposedly working in conjunction with President Trump to bring bad actors to justice, bad criminals whose only intent is harm to others and enrichment to ourselves. The information relayed has a lot to do with American national security and the security of other nations around the globe. Q isn’t a conspiracy theory at all, it’s one group of, probably military, people cryptically bringing information to light to those whom the media has failed (that would be all of us). It’s also a great way to reach people who would rarely watch the evening news even if it was truthful. Researching things for oneself can be very rewarding and eye opening. It can also be a joy to share the info one has found. Q is really training a whole lotta of people to be real journalists in pursuit of the truth.

I’ve been following Q since last summer. I’d heard about it from a controversial writer named Vox Day. He would mention in passing about something “Q” had posted and I always thought that it must be just some political insider. Eventually something sparked me to looking further into Q, but I can’t recall what. I think I thought that if someone as smart as Vox was following this person, maybe I should too. It was amazing to find out what a huge following Q has and that it was actually a plan to subvert the lying, mockingbird media. Since following Q posts, drops, and the anons, some not so anonymous, who decode them, my view of the world has been, well, turned upside down. Not so much in the sense that evil is always trying to dominate (aka the cabal behind the scenes), but that those on the side of good are fighting back in a spy vs. spy alternate reality that rivals any movie. I don’t know for sure if the Q team’s (essentially President Trump’s plan?) to save the world from criminality run rampant will ultimately succeed, but it appears that it just might. At least for a time. We can’t expect to keep evil in check permanently. Only God can do that.

Q has long indicated that President Trump will be using the Army Corp of Engineers (clues being Red Castle/Green Castle) to build the wall. This week it appears as if that will indeed be happening, although the president was careful to have exhausted every other effort first. Optics are important. Q has also long been saying that criminals like the Clintons will be brought to justice and that they can’t escape the pain that is coming. Q has said that the fake “Russia, Russia, Russia” investigation into Trump will soon be ending. As if on cue (Q?) the mockingbird media has begun squawking about not being disappointed if Mueller’s investigation doesn’t reveal collusion like they’d hoped. The media is setting the stage so they won’t look either stupid or like liars once all of the information about the true, treasonous collusion against the American people and their duly elected president, Donald J. Trump, comes to light. Q is being proved right faster and faster and it is clear, if one truly looks around, that thousands of people who were in power a couple of years ago are not now. They have either been arrested, fired, or stepped down from their positions. It is mostly the new, alternative media that has been reporting on these things, especially the staggering amount of human trafficking and pedophile rings that have been busted worldwide since Trump took office. Check that. It’s probably been since he started campaigning.

Why are Q and Trump succeeding? They know how to play the long game and they are playing for all the marbles. They are not in this halfway; they are all in because their lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of their fellow countrymen depend on this plan working. This wasn’t just another four year election. This was about bringing back power truly to the people. By the grace of God, their plan is working, and both Q and Trump do acknowledge God, asking us to pray, pray, pray! There’s a Christian saying: Pray as if everything depends on God, and then act as if everything depends on you. This is exactly what Q and President Trump appear to be doing. And if they ultimately succeed, so do we, the American people, and also the nations of the world. It is an amazing time to be alive. This, this takedown of criminal power, is WW3 happening right before our eyes. Pray for good to win, and keep an eye on Q to find out what the media’s not telling you. Q drops are posted on various sites like qmap.pub

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s the time of year when Christians celebrate the miracle of Jesus Christ, our Savior. He paid the punishment for our sins and suffered hell so we don’t have to. Someday we will live eternally with Him in heavenly bliss.

But the angel said to them [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrap in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12

God be with you in your travels and bless your time together with family and friends. May His gift of life for us give you comfort and joy this Christmas season and always!

Agatha Christie and Qanon

Agatha Christie is one of my go-to authors. Her mysteries are often second to none and great adventures to boot, as her characters often travel to exotic places. Most of her stories can be read in one sitting, and most are more than mysteries: they give us her insights into human nature as well as quiet, no frills love stories.

That being said, she has a few misses, at least in my opinion. I don’t care for her Harley Quin stories and some of her stories that are political spy thrillers. However The Man in the Brown Suit is my absolute favorite by her, and as I’m going to read that again soon, I’ll be sure to do a review later on. This week I read Passenger to Frankfurt and though I enjoy politics and spies, I found this story tedious and difficult to follow.

When this happens with an author I like, I often try to finish the book anyway and find something to enjoy about it. Strangely enough, the violent, anarchic world revolution happening in the book has similarities to the violence and anarchy happening in our world today. Christie refers to certain people of wealth being behind violent youth movements that think they are going to change the world, but really are only puppets for those with power who want more of it.

This has a lot to do with what the elusive Q or Qanon shares with followers on the 8-Chan boards. If you don’t know about Q, I highly recommend at least brushing up on it, as for good or bad, this Qanon is influencing a lot of people. We are all hoping the Q team is on the side of good and he/they appear to be working in conjunction with President Trump in order to get information out by bypassing the media. Q posts questions, phrases, codes, essentially, and asks anons (the anonymous users of 8-chan) to research people and their connections to power, trafficking, crime, and the like.

Despite the Q phenomenon being painted like a cult, the point of it seems largely to get people to think for themselves, to do their own research, and really to realize how much they are lied to and how much is purposefully kept hidden from them by the media. It is also has been a great boost for Trump and MAGA supporters, especially those who find following politics via legal moves and C-Span rather tedious and boring. Researching death and sex cults will always be more interesting. In recent weeks, some Q followers have gotten frustrated that there’s been no fantastic arrests of all the evildoers yet or that we aren’t fighting a physical war yet, or something. People are bored again, because politics, research, and the like, it’s not glamorous or exciting. It’s tedious, dogged work, and one often has to take the longer route when the shorter would be far more exciting.

In consequence the Q team, too, seems a bit down. No one’s seeing the amazing things that have already happened–the true exchanges of power happening in the USA and the world–and are only focusing on what hasn’t happened yet, and frankly, what may never happen. The “wheels of justice are slow,” Q says, and they understand the followers’ frustration.

So how does this connect with Passenger to Frankfurt and Agatha Christie? Well, the story is essentially about a group of people, spies, trying to stop a violent world movement. It is the same thing, old rich people stirring up the young. The young think they are fighting for good and that their violent overthrowing of everything will eventually bring about some kind of utopia. We have seen this in countless revolutions throughout the ages, but it is only the rich and powerful who win in these movements, for they are safe from the violence and get away with instigating crimes while the young get batoned, tear gassed, and arrested. And the utopia never comes, because it’s all about more power or new power for certain people.

At one point in the story, someone draws a diagram showing how so many things are connected or controlled by the same rich people, the same 13 families or Illuminati of conspiracy yore: finance, armament, art, the drug trade, the sex trade, slavery etc. Q research has shown many that the same groups of people (think George Soros) are pulling the strings behind, well, almost everything. It’s unsettling to find that certain people have so much power. Who do they think they are? That’s the question. Do they think they are gods or what?

Christie envisions one such person as a very old, fat woman who has every indulgence and only surrounds herself with beautiful young people all eager for the revolution. This revolution is connected largely to Hitler of WW2 fame, and its hinted that these people are yet again trying to create a “pure” human race using a supposed descendant of Adolf. Today, where anyone who doesn’t agree with anyone else is labeled as a “Nazi” or the next “Hitler,” placing him on a pedestal as the ultimate evil yet again is, well, tedious. Hitler wasn’t the first to start this kind of thing or try to rule the world, and he wasn’t even the most successful. Yet, Christie uses him, because he’s an easily identifiable evil, or was, to most people in 1970.

I saw this revolution stuff, too, in my college years. I graduated in 2000 and I can tell you my classmates were as much in love with Mao and Che Guevara as students probably are today. No eyes were batted at these people being violent mass murderers; it was enough they were not American, or against America, or against being just boring vanilla or something. That was the thing, then, and probably still is today. The young are taught that being peaceful and having a happy family, that these things are all lies of some kind because of course some families and some people are unhappy, so therefore it’s wrong for anyone else to be happy or normal or something. We see this in the LGBTQ movement, where the normal romantic loves between a man and woman are pushed aside in pursuit of being unique or troubled in some way. Why is youth so tempted by this stuff? It’s first of all a desire to fit in with one’s peers, the exact opposite of what’s professed, and also the wanting to do something special. And it is a desire for a world with no bad outcomes, no bad choices, and no bad consequences. (But it’s a lie, and as a result so many of these young people commit suicide because they know it’s a lie and they’re just waiting for someone to chastise them with the truth and no one does. It’s like seeing a brother hit his sister and the child knows he’s doing wrong, but the parents always say it’s good, what he’s doing is good. Nothing wrong, no wrong choices, and after awhile the child can’t take it anymore because he knows it’s wrong what he’s doing. It’s written on his heart. It’s written on all of our hearts.)

The trouble with the “heaven on earth” idea is that we are all humans who have only lived on earth. We don’t know what heaven is, not really, and if we are marching to another’s drum, we are trying to implement their version of a heaven, not actually Heaven. Human nature also can’t be controlled completely by other humans, and if it can, the loss of freedom would be great. We’ll stab you in the back as much as we’ll love you, and so utopian movements fail as people start to grab power only for themselves or lose faith in the movement.

Near the end of the story, Christie brings up this Benvo project or benevolence project, basically a scientific experiment to make people stop being violent and desire only other people’s good. Normal benevolence is a great thing, this would be a nightmare. By this point in the story, I honestly wasn’t sure if these people were the good guys or the bad guys at this point. They wanted to stop the violent movements by drugging people into being good, no, not being good, making them have no desires but to please others. Ella Enchanted, anyone? It would be the worst kind of slavery! Basically, the conclusion is that people who want to rule the world for whatever reason are ultimately not be trusted. They come to see themselves as gods and other people as ants. Like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, they think of themselves all as great Napoleons, too smart to be chained by any laws whatsoever. And they will eagerly commit murder or lobotomies for the sake of their future “heaven on earth.”

What does that have to do with Q? Well, we want to believe the Q team is the good guys, and I do hope they are, but the reality is that they may be, too, envisioning a world that can only succeed with careful control over everyone and everything. If the “swamp” is drained, if all corruption stamped out, and all the criminals brought to justice, even then, even then, new people will be waiting at the gates to seize power. The peace and prosperity will only be until the corruption and revolutions start again. Q says to “trust the plan” and says the followers are watching things unfold almost like a movie. It’s mostly good and it’s mostly exciting, but the truth is that it’s not a movie, it’s real life. And the truth is, all the new information people have unearthed can be just as useless as it can be useful. The strides made are largely political moves that bore the young to tears. Talk about FISA and people’s eyes glaze over (as one example).

This is not to dampen the efforts of Q, Trump, or MAGA, but this all is about exchanging the old guard of power into a new guard, hopefully better than the last, but still never quite the “power for the people” that’s always promised. We can have anarchy or we can have rulers, and anarchy only leads to stricter rulers. Peace, prosperity, freedom. These are the goals, and can only be reached for the average person by having a good strong man in power, and good, strong men are rare, rarer still if they don’t get corrupted by being in power.

The real good in the world is found in everyday life, in normalcy, in living in the truth. And so Christie’s book ends with the promise of a wedding, the man has gotten his girl, their naughty little bridesmaid says her prayers and seems back on the straight and narrow, and the world is whole again, for a time. As a Christian I know without God, we are nothing, that a world without Him would be hell. Still, it’s tempting to look to other people, like Trump, as someone who can save us from ourselves, but he’s not a savior, he’s breaking the media’s hold on us, and that’s no small thing. He’s showing us how hollow the promises of our congressmen are, and that’s no small thing. He’s showing us that good has to be fought for, and that’s a big thing, perhaps the biggest thing. We can’t have utopia, but we may be able to live in peace for a time, and this may mean embracing nationalism and discarding the globalism that is only putting the poorest of us in stricter chains.

The world is bad enough already, Q says, but there are those rich and powerful who are only fostering more hurt, manufacturing more war, and they should be relieved of their power for the sake of everyone. The Clinton’s should be in jail, shouldn’t they? It’s best to think of things in those terms, I think: Crimes and punishments for them. It does no good to dream on about utopias, Libertarian or otherwise. There may be no mass arrests or martial law, but why would we want either, really? It’s enough if there’s one significant arrest and we avoid martial law and the good strong man becoming the bad strong man. It’s good enough if we avoid being experimented on and made to love being good or love the state, like in 1984. Even God doesn’t force us to be good, even God doesn’t force us to believe in Him.

Sigh. One tries to be an insightful writer, telling truths no one else seems to get or something, but it’s all like a lecture and tedious and I got sort of bored writing it all out, just as I got bored with whatever dear Agatha was trying to say in her story. The truly profound is elusive. Politics are politics. Power is power. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Passenger to Frankfurt like Qanon, is only remarkable because today we have been so very, very steeped in lies. In a climate where the truth is mostly apparent, i.e. common sense, these kinds of stories and devices wouldn’t be needed. But humans tend to lie and be illogical, so we’ll see these stories pop up time and again to remind us we are being manipulated. We are being manipulated, but aside from knowing the truth, there’s not much the average person can do. That’s the lesson. At most one can share the truth with other people. As a Christian, this makes sense to me, for Christianity is much the same: Here is the way things are. Here is Jesus, the way to salvation. You can believe in Him or not. That’s about it. But that’s everything! Because believing in Jesus gives us the confidence to go out and do good and have that power of positive thinking that Trump was raised on. So in Christ’s name, we can have the grand plans, the grand stories, and also the everyday ones. We can have all the cake and eat it too, but that Heaven will not be on this broken earth.

Ok, there I go again. One tries to say something wise and it just ends up sounding like a lecture. Anyway, Passenger to Frankfurt strangely connects with the Q movement, if only in the sense that it tries to pull back the curtain, so show the people pulling the strings. Things are more interconnected than we’d like to believe. People have a staggering amount of power and wealth and hide it well. These are things to be aware of. Conspiracy theories should be researched, not scoffed at. Great wrongs are often righted in the world behind the scenes, sometimes with spies and crazy plans and people who will forever have to be anonymous. They are not important, but what they are doing is.

A Rose by Any Other Name: A Rant on Titles

It’s like people are determined to ruin my childhood or something. Okay, okay, drama aside, let me explain. The books, the books that defined my teenage years for me were, okay, yes, the Anne of Green Gables¬†series, and, yes, Little House on the Prairie, and various teen romance series that were probably too steamy for me to be reading, and Robin Cook thrillers, and Isaac Asimov sci-fi extravaganzas… but I digress. Where was I? The series that I loved, one of those that almost clammer for a screen adaptation, but resolve themselves to staying literature only, was The Kingdom series by Cynthia Voigt.

What I loved about the series was mostly the second book, On Fortune’s Wheel, which is terribly romantic, but the third book, The¬†Wings of a Falcon¬†ended up ultimately being my favorite as I got older. Something about two friends making it through everything…it just sticks with me to this day. The first book is Jackaroo, the plot of which¬†at first seems like a knockoff of Robin Hood. And it is, sort of, but the world of The Kingdom, quiet, contemplative, and somewhat melancholy, draws you in. The series just has this rare quality of making the reader feel like you are there. You are going through this, too. This quality is likely why Voigt is such a successful writer of young adult stories.

Anyway, I learned today, just in looking up the series to see if I wanted to buy newer copies, that um, they’ve changed the titles. All of them. Well, the fourth book, Elske, is now The Tale of Elske, and it’s my least favorite of the series, so that one didn’t disappoint me too much. ¬†But the others! I just can’t believe it! Jackaroo, On Fortune’s Wheel, and The¬†Wings of a Falcon have all been changed to The Tale of Gwyn, The Tale of Birle, and The Tale of Oriel. Three wonderful, intriguing titles exchanged for stupidly bland titles that fail to reflect the fact that The Kingdom books, although set in the same world, aren’t sequels, aren’t part of a large, overarching quest or plot, and are each really their own stories almost entirely. It’s almost as stupid as changing D.M. Cornish’s awesome series title Monster Blood Tattoo into Tales from the Half-Continent.

Why do publishers or authors or whoever do this? Blander titles are supposed to sell more books? Really? It would be like me changing my series, Trolls for Dust, to Vale Studios. Boring! Now, if they’d changed them to more interesting titles, I would maybe be on board, but this… Well, my childhood is long over, anyway, and one can’t go back, not really. My memories of those happy reading days will have to suffice. I will treasure my dog-eared original titles and refuse to replace them unless they become absolutely unreadable due to wear and tear.

This winter I want to read the entire series again and go through for you what I love about it and why you or your teenagers might like it too. They will be the same stories, despite the names being changed, but I disagree with Juliet. Names of things matter. Names show identity, they show who you belong to, who loves you, sometimes who hates you. Names can be blessings or curses, beatifying or insulting, and changing a book’s title is no small thing, just like changing one’s own name is no small thing. It is a transformation no matter how one looks at it. The object or person is simply different after. Most of the time, I hope, for the better, but this required a rant because the original titles are infinitely more suitable for the series, and the new titles woefully inadequate. And don’t even get me started on the new covers.

The Kingdom

The covers and titles I grew up with.

A World in Shadows

Maybe it’s all the rain we had today, or the fact that I saw a–double rainbow!!–but I am feeling like writing a poem, only I haven’t written a poem in years. A bulb is out in my favorite lamp that I got from a dear friend and the shadows it casts on the ceiling are perfect for writing a poem, probably what should an epic one, but I can’t seem to find the right words.

lamp shadows

Galaxies, creation, the dance of the stars, the dance of romance. ¬†It’s all in there. ¬†Casablanca and great old movies are in there, as well as The Great Gatsby, Orson Welles, and drops of Jupiter. ¬†I am writing a non-poem, poem here. ¬†Darkness and light. ¬†Dripping candles. Greek columns of tragedy, and just the sense of a world apart from our present one. What stories lie in shadows on the wall! ¬†I could stare at it forever and never figure out the tale, because the tale is in my heart tucked away somewhere for safekeeping.

Last notecard for “The Stolen Necklace” tomorrow. I’m sad to see the story end. The desire was very strong to just end it with one word from Lord Dovecoat, and I could have, but I thought it best to end how it began, with Lady Tolliver. ¬†She is a bit silly, but really not a bad sort after all.

–P. Beldona