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Laughter: The Best Medicine {A ROFL Post}

Long ago and far away, I did “ROFL Posts”–and by “ROFL” I meant “Roll-On-the-Floor-Laughing.” These posts were basically just a hodgepodge of memes, jokes, and text posts I’d collected on Pinterest or Tumblr, and they were a nice way to update my blog when I didn’t have much to say.

I’m bringing back the old ROFL Post today for two reasons. One is quite practical: I’ll be writing short-and-sweet posts this month (and maybe even recycling a few old ones!) while I invest more time and creativity into my Camp NaNoWriMo project (which I’m really excited about). A ROFL Post seemed like a great way to kick off this fun but temporary respite from long and drawn-out articles.

The second reason is more fun: Laughter is good for your immune system! And that’s something we all need right now, amiright? I’ve resolved to make up for canceled vacations and adventures by making April as exciting and beautiful as possible, but sometimes I just need a good laugh, too!

So without further ado, please enjoy this fine collection of memes and silliness 😉

#TOO RELATABLE

I’ve listened to a lot of Celtic music in my time and can attest to the truth of this statement.

I’ll take mine black as the night, please.

Actually me when somebody tried to tell me I didn’t know what was said and done at the Council of Elrond.

TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, SENPAI.

Loki in “Thor: Ragnarok” was a gift to this universe.

…which was why I nearly died of embarrassment when I choked on a cough drop during a funeral a few weeks ago.

We call it “Culinary Creativity” now.

Look, even us introverts would like to go out every once in a while.

(*raises the three-finger salute*)

Have YOU ever been burned by a jalapeño? It is NO FUN.

I would like to have words with that person (from a distance of six feet).

Bonus Category: My Favorite Star Wars Memes (because I got my Rise of Skywalker DVD last week and I am one happy, happy camper)

But the question is…is this Hux talking about Kylo, or Kylo talking about Hux?

Now we put Ben and Poe in the same category. I’m just sayin’.

Fun Fact: I can’t listen to “You’ll Be Back” without thinking about Hux now.

The Skywalker/Solo Men need their wives: it’s literally the ONLY way to keep them from being a bunch of hot messes.

And last but not least, THIS TWEET…

…led to this masterpiece:

SOURCE: @iamcaseyjean on Twitter

So stay one (1) Adam Driver away from each other, peeps.

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Book Review: “Becoming Mrs. Lewis”

Disclaimer: This review deals with some adult subject matter, so if your kiddos are reading my blog or if you’d rather not hear me complain about One Particular Quoted Passage, feel free to ignore this post. Just ignore it entirely. It’s okay, we’re good! 🙂

“The love story of C.S. Lewis and his wife, Helen Joy Davidman Gresham, was improbable–and seemingly impossible. Their Eros-story led to some of Lewis’s greatest works, yet Joy is most commonly known for how she died. Becoming Mrs. Lewis allows us to see how this brilliant and passionate woman lived–and why she stole Jack’s heart”–Google Books synopsis

I rarely write negative reviews on this blog. I prefer to promote things I love and enjoy, not tear down the things I dislike. I’m perfectly willing to point out my objections to certain things in my favorite stories, of course–but actually write negative views? On purpose? Not my style.

I’m compelled to write this particular review, though, because I expressed how much I wanted to read Becoming Mrs. Lewis after personally witnessing its big win at the Art of Writing Conference in Nashville last year. And then I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had started reading it, but had mixed feelings about it.

I don’t feel right about leaving y’all hanging, especially since I have a feeling many of my readers are, like me, big C.S. Lewis fans. And in the interests of being 100% honest, I’ll admit that some of my opinions are highly subjective while others come from a more critical “writer’s eye.”

C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Lewis (@ Google Images)

There’s something irresistible about C.S. Lewis and his unlikely romance with Joy Davidman Gresham: “Charming, frumpy, theologically brilliant Oxford don and lifelong single marries outspoken, divorced, theologically brilliant American writer with two young sons.” There’s so much going on there, you can’t help but be intrigued! How did they meet? What sparked their friendship? What tipped them from philia, as Lewis himself would’ve described friendship, into eros?

Our family loves Lewis and his writings so much, we’ve affectionately called him “Uncle Jack” for as long as I can remember. As for Joy, she’s always been a figure of fascination for me. Her camaraderie with the man she ended up marrying, born of similar experiences and ambitions, shared faith, and vibrant humor, is something I’ve always hoped for in my own life should I ever meet the Dude of My Dreams. After all, if there isn’t friendship first, then what’s the point?

Lewis and Joy’s friendship is certainly well-portrayed in this novel–no doubt about that. But her side of the relationship (the one he is unaware of for most of the story) is problematic, both historically and in the novel. She fell deeply in love with him after they first met, yet she still had a husband back home in America. Yes, he was an abusive monster and serial adulterer, and their marriage was on the brink of divorce long before Joy ever met Lewis–but it does make the situation more sticky, especially in a novel that imaginatively explores Joy’s inner dialogue and emotions.

History-Joy was, apparently, determined to save her marriage regardless of her attraction to Lewis. The Novel-Joy expresses this desire as well…but not convincingly. Perhaps if she’d endured a fierce tug-of-war with her heart that ended in a total resolution to save her marriage at all costs, I would’ve bought it. As it was, Novel-Joy just seemed pretty halfhearted about the whole thing.

Joy Davidman as a young woman  (@ Wikipedia)

The book’s descriptions of England were ON POINT. Author Patti Callahan’s admiration for C.S. Lewis allowed for a rich and vivid portrayal of this beloved figure. But plentiful info-dumps, especially in the dialogue, unfortunately made Becoming Mrs. Lewis a clunky read–and the stilted dialogue often has a tad too much “twenty-first century feministic wokeness.” I realize History-Joy was an outspoken and independent woman, but after a while Novel-Joy’s repeated complaints about men and traditional gender roles got tiresome.

Her characterization, then, along with some of the author’s stylistic/artistic choices, would be my more critical complaints. My more subjective complaint may make you roll your eyes–but here it goes.

My favorite chapter in the book finds Joy and Lewis brainstorming his next novel–which eventually becomes Till We Have Faces. I LOVED this story (you can read my review of it on my Goodreads account!), so it was great fun to “watch” them come up with the idea and a working title…until I got smacked in the face with Too Much Information:

Bareface,” [Jack] said. “That should be the title.” He stood and held the pages. “I haven’t been this excited about my work in a very long time. How can I thank you?”

“Get out of here and finish it,” [I said.] Or take me in your arms and set me down on that bed and make love to me. 

The forbidden thought flew by unspoken. Jack rushed out of the room to return to his true love: the page.

–excerpt from Becoming Mrs. Lewis 

Allow me to be brutally honest for a second. If this had been a fictional (married) heroine expressing a realistic, natural physical/sexual attraction to her husband, I wouldn’t have been squeamish about it. At all. 

But first of all, Joy and Lewis weren’t even married yet in this passage–which already makes it squirm-worthy–and second of all, in a subjective and almost childlike way, I felt like I might as well be reading about my parents???? And I don’t need my parents to overshare about their love life?????? So the mental image of Joy Davidman having erotic fantasies about C.S. LEWIS is VERY VERY AWKWARD FOR ME?!?!?! AND THIS WASN’T THE ONLY PASSAGE LIKE THIS?!?!?!?!?!?!

I realize this is probably “just me” and that other readers won’t have a problem with it, but it made me want to crawl in a hole someplace and die of Secondhand Embarrassment, okay?

I refuse to say “DON’T READ THIS BOOK.” I’ve been burned one too many times by people who’ve told me “This Book/Movie is BAD, don’t watch it”–only to try it for myself and absolutely love it. (*cough-Tangled and The Last Jedi-cough-cough*)

So if you are interested in Becoming Mrs. Lewis, don’t let this review dissuade you. Read it yourself and come to your own conclusions. I didn’t particularly enjoy it–I’d probably prefer an actual biography of Joy Davidman–but I realize that not everyone will share my objections…or my squirmy reactions.

And thus concludes this uncomfortably honest and extremely awkward review.

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Movie Review: “Midway” (2019)

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links, meaning I receive a small commission if you make any purchase through links marked clearly with an asterisk, at no cost to you. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

Greetings from isolation, peeps! Except for a quick Walmart Pickup which didn’t even require going into the store, I’ve been at home for a full week. No church, no choir, no cuddle sessions with my baby niece, nothin’. And now we’re under a Stay-At-Home order from our governor until April 12. Phooey.

Nevertheless, we’ve kept calm and carried on, staying busy with school, gardening, reading, baking, organizing…and catching up on that Midwayreview I promised a couple of weeks ago!

@ Google Images

“On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. Six months later, the Battle of Midway commences on June 4, 1942, as the Japanese navy once again plans a strike against American ships in the Pacific. For the next three days, the U.S. Navy and a squad of brave fighter pilots engage the enemy in one of the most important and decisive battles of World War II.”–Google Synopsis

As a World War II history enthusiast, I was very intrigued about this film. I haven’t seen the 1976 film of the same name, and a little cursory research assures me I’m better off not seeing it. This newest take on the pivotal, three-day Battle of Midway is very long, somewhat exaggerated, and a little confusing–but if you want something far more historically-accurate, this is the film to watch.

Wikipedia’s article on the battle offers a solid grasp on why it was so important in the story of the Pacific Theater:

The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific … The Japanese hoped another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific. Luring the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupying Midway was part of an overall “barrier” strategy to extend Japan’s defensive perimeter, in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo …

The plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most significantly, American cryptographers were able to determine the date and location of the planned attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush. Four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle. The four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, and Hiryū, part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—were sunk, as was the heavy cruiser Mikuma […] It was the Allies’ first major naval victory against the Japanese, won despite the Japanese Navy having more forces and experience than its American counterpart.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, as portrayed in “Midway.” (@Google Images)

So that’s the plot, and the movie is actually very accurate to this history! According to my research, the biggest historical discrepancies were technical: “the American planes in 1942 didn’t use that particular bomb sight,” “this island wasn’t really that mountainous,” and “the USS Nautilus attacked this Japanese destroyer, not that one.” (By the way, don’t you just love the fact that the Navy named their submarine “Nautilus?” Too bad the Jules Verne fandom didn’t have Tumblr back then: they would’ve been squealing.)

But I’m the kind of viewer who latches onto characters faster than plot, and director Roland Emmerich offers us not just one, but four different protagonists:

  • Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa), who utters the famous (if apocryphal) line, “We have awoken a sleeping giant and filled him with terrible resolve” after the attack on Pearl Harbor…
  • Lieutenant Commander Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson), who warned everyone for years of an upcoming Japanese attack on America…
  • Lieutenant Richard “Dick” Best (Ed Skrein), a hotshot pilot stationed on the USS Enterprise (*grins meaningfully at all my fellow Trekkies)…
  • and Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), who takes over American naval operations in the Pacific after the disastrous attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Other characters include Admiral Halsey (Dennis Quaid), Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckart), Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky (Luke Evans), and courageous machinist Bruno Gaido (played by Nick Jonas, who sticks out like a sore thumb a la Harry Styles in Dunkirk). The fast-paced and often sprawling plot, however, revolves around the four aforementioned protagonists and their own weaknesses, strengths, and motivations.

Ed Skrein & Mandy Moore in “Midway.” (@ Google Images)

One article I read about Midway said that it “isn’t a movie about World War II. It’s a movie about World War II movies.” And that’s true. If you ever had a stereotypical vision in your mind about what the typical soldier or officer in World War II should’ve looked or acted like, Midway’s got you covered. Damian Lewis’ soft-spoken Dick Winters and Andrew Garfield’s endearing Desmond Doss would both be quite out of place here.

On the other hand, Midway* does an excellent job in respecting both American and Japanese soldiers alike. While it doesn’t sugarcoat the Japanese atrocities in China and on the seas, it does portray Yamamoto and (most of) his subordinates as capable, intelligent men driven by honor and devotion to their emperor. Nor are the Americans seen merely as foolhardy cowboys. Even Lieutenant Best, whose greatest virtue is certainly not subtlety, gets a few quiet moments of anguish and self-doubt.

All in all, Midway is an engaging film: you have to pay attention, because otherwise you’ll lose track of all the different characters and storylines, but you won’t be twiddling your thumbs waiting for the action to start. The depictions of life on aircraft carriers and submarines are fascinating. The Pearl Harbor sequence, which takes place within the first ten minutes, is downright harrowing. And yes, the last ten minutes or so had me watching through my fingers!

@ Google Images

Conclusion, then: watch Midway* for the history if not for the acting (which is less than stellar). I’d say it’s worthy of a WWII buff’s attention…though I did enjoy my re-watch of Hacksaw Ridge this past weekend far more.