Five Quick Takes

Five Quick Takes November 15, 2022

I.

I had hoped to continue my series on Christian nationalism a bit more promptly, but (drum roll please): I finally got Covid! Two and a half years, and I tested positive for it on the day I’d been planning to go get my booster shot—real adding-insult-to-injury move there, virus. Had to miss a coffee date with a friend that I’d really been looking forward to as well. However, I can thank God that I seem to have had a very mild case: my symptoms in general have been little worse than a really bad cold or a fairly mild flu, and after just under a week I seem to be completely better, fingers crossed.

II.

You may know this already; if so, feel free to skip to the next section. Crocodiles have existed in one form or another for about two hundred and fifty million years, though what we’d call modern crocodiles have only been around for the last fifty-five million. Their rough shape of “lizard-y, but fatter” has mostly stayed the same across different time periods and branches of the family.

However, apropos of nothing, I recently remembered a factoid I picked up somewhere or other: there was one type of crocodile that evolved in another direction. Postosuchus, which lived during the late Triassic, was a bipedal crocodile. A crocodile that walked on two legs. Like a person. Or a moviegoer’s idea of a velociraptor.

To speak frankly, crocodiles are already deeply unacceptable. Now picture a crocodile that can chase you—like if Walt Disney had decided to go in more of a body horror direction with Peter Pan. Postosuchus may have gone kaput during the end-Triassic extinction (one of the largest mass extinctions in biological history), and is almost certainly not around now. Regardless, I’ll be lodging a complaint with science and/or God that it was ever allowed to exist in the first place, which I feel certain is in violation of several federal laws as well as basic moral decency.

III.

As mentioned in my last set of quick takes, I was out on the west coast last month. Besides working with the project Eve set up (I’m not sure how much I contributed, as I was absolutely exhausted from both travel and just how much we did!), I also got to spend, literally, a couple hours with some family I have in the San Francisco Bay area, namely an uncle and aunt and one of my grandmothers (all on my father’s side). The visit with my grandmother was honestly a bit rough: she’s suffering from dementia, and it’s more advanced than I’d understood. In short, well, she didn’t exactly know who I was. But I’m glad I was able to make time to drop in on her. And even if she thought she was talking to an amiable stranger, she did brighten up when I asked her to pray for me.

IV.

My friend H. and I have, I guess for about a year now, been watching a smorgasbord of horror and sci-fi that qualifies as good, cheesy, or both. I have an abiding passion for the so-bad-it’s-good film. I will never forget my first viewings of The Triffids or Reptilicus, and my thirteenth birthday present from my parents was a ticket to see Godzilla 2000, which all of us agreed was an excellent return to form for the franchise: the preceding Godzilla film had been an attempt to make a legitimate monster movie, a notion we all found beneath contempt, but Godzilla 2000 featured everything one could want—visibly fake special effects, people wearing capes and walking into a headwind for no reason whatsoever, all the desiderata.

Anyway! Though my education in horror has been a bit random before now, I’ve finally seen The Thing and reveled in Kurt Russell’s “what if someone had a mullet and it was Good Actually” hair, as well as the first two Evil Dead films. I’ve introduced H. in turn to one or two genuine classics like Carnival of Souls, and also a few masterpieces in awfulness like Starcrash. I haven’t yet gotten Hammer’s breathtakingly dumb The Devil Rides Out onto the docket, but I hope to.

I don’t care how stupid you think this poster looks: the actual film is impossibly stupider, and I love it.

On Halloween we did Werewolf by Night. This is technically an MCU film (apparently it’s based on a comic of the same name), but it can certainly be watched alone. We were both quite delighted with it: not necessarily the most original project in history, if that’s something you care about, but the acting and directing were excellent and the trailer gave away just enough but not too much. Even some of its “gimmicky” features, like being a short film (just under an hour) or being shot in black and white, really added to its charm. If you’re looking for—odd though this phrase feels to write—some light horror, I recommend it.

V.

I have hit what I’m going to call an odd moment in my spiritual journey. It’s been a rough year, by which I mean I have done little or nothing to nourish my spiritual life. However, the last couple of days—I don’t know, maybe it is or was something to do with being sick, but resisting a couple of my besetting sins felt like nothing. Actually it didn’t even feel like resistance, they just sort of felt vaguely distasteful. I’m not fool enough to think this is going to last; temporary reprieves are normal, not indicators of a seismic spiritual shift! But I can’t help feeling like somebody’s been praying for me. Whoever you are, thank you.


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