If you were the President of the United States, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, the Queen of England (or any of the most rich and powerful people in the world) and wanted to help people struggling with poverty, disease, oppression by an occupying military force, and wallowing in the results of social problems, how would you do it?
Consider how God, who created the entire universe, decided to bring salvation to us. God could have come on the clouds with hosts of angels and all the powers and awe of the heavens. Instead, He embraced our limited existence in every way. He spend 9 months in his mother’s womb and was born in a barn as a near helpless infant. He did not come in any glory nor power but into a very simple family. He had a father and a mother and grew up obedient to them (Luke 2:51-52). God. Obedient to His human parents.
This was not only to show God’s humble nature or His desire to share life like one of us in all things. It was also a resounding re-affirmation of the family – of parents and children. That the commitment, obedience, and love each family member has for each other is the perfect and happiest way to live. It’s no less than a mirror of the inner life of the Trinity itself.
This affirmation goes all the way back to Genesis which tells us being created male and female in the image of God, to be fruitful and multiply, to have authority over creation, and this pattern and order “was very good” (Gen 1:26-31)
Something to ponder on this Feast of the Holy Family.
In my post-Christmas days off of work, I went to morning daily mass as I often do.
While most people are excited for the run-up to Christmas, I think the days right after Christmas are a quieter time for spiritual reflection and enjoying the miracle of Christmas. Many places in the world don’t give gifts on Christmas day, but on Epiphany (Jan 6th, when the magi are said to have arrived). It’s a good reminder that Christmas is celebrated from Christmas day until the Baptism of the Lord, which usually falls on the Sunday after Epiphany (so, usually the second Sunday of January).
The day after Christmas while I was praying before mass, I wondered what it was like for Joseph and Mary with their 1 day old newborn. Surely Jesus was like every other 1 day old newborn. Equal amounts of being very tiny, vulnerable, precious, and probably the most beautiful thing their parents had ever seen.
While kneeling during the eucharistic prayer during mass, it occurred that this same Jesus, this same tiny child, was present there on the alter as the Eucharist.
It reminded me of the wonder and care we should have when we receive the Eucharist. It should be no less than that of how we would love, adore, and have care with that of a newborn child placed in our arms. The actual presence of Christ our Lord who is carried in us when we receive the Eucharist and go out into the world each day. A Lord who was not only the creator of the universe, but inexplicably, was also willing to become as vulnerable as a newborn infant.
This is an astounding demonstration of love – and one that utterly defeats the pride and arrogance of evil. God gives up an infinite heavenly paradise to join us in our daily lives of joys, toils, and struggles. This is who is present in the Eucharist and wants me to carry Him into the world.
How much of my own comfort am I willing to give up to help those who have it much worse than myself? Would I give up living in a palace to come live with and help the homeless, the spiritually and emotionally lost, the ill?
Perhaps that’s why we have so many saints who did exactly that – such as Elizabeth of Hungary who eschewed her royalty as princess and queen to put a leper in her own bed to care for him. She later used her extensive wealth to open hospitals and then cared for the sick in them. Another is the work of Mother Teresa, who picked up the dying poorest of the poor from the gutters if only to give them a little dignity before death. What am I called to do?
Beware is an in-development demo by Ondrej_Svadlena. At a glance, it’s an open-world driving game that first appeared in May 2018. In it, you are a driver in what appears to be a rainy, foggy eastern block country in the 70’s. What makes this thing stand out is the atmosphere of tension, disorientation, and paranoia it creates. It’s really fantastic. The player is dropped into anonymous, listless locations, hampered by dense fog and rain-slick backroads. The player encounters various solitary landmarks—as well as mysterious and menacing events.
It’s definitely worth checking out. His Patreon page has the latest information about development and supporters get access to extensive additional content. It seems he is up to version 13 and it appears to maybe even support VR now.
Download here: https://www.indiedb.com/games/beware/downloads
One of the best is a series of commercials I have seen is for Sakeru Gummy candy. The episodes is often just known as Long Long Man about a young couple and their running into a mysterious man who likes a longer version of the candy.
It is honestly some of the best commercial making around – and I hate to say – has better acting and story than probably 75% of the constant re-hashed old franchises, superhero stories, and movies/TV we see today. For a series that last a total of only 6 minutes over 11 thirty second clips – it delivers an amazingly engaging story.
Here’s the whole series:
What’s awesome is the actor Yukiyoshi Ozawa even does a short interview. He put some emotion and thought into his role.
Ronny Svedman gives a demonstration of a Tektronix 4006-1 tube vector graphics terminal. It’s now almost 50 years old, and should remind people that all the fancy graphics of today had their start a long, long time ago. This particular model has a Swedish EPROM (iso-10646-se) is rendered with slightly different characters.
This thing has some fantastic vector graphics that I wish we could still have today. Vector graphics is pretty limited, but it creates some really iconic images. Fun really starts at 3:54
“Instead of planning for a vacation, create a lifestyle you don’t need to take a vacation from”. Helped me decide to pick low stress jobs most of my life, and I’ve noticed for me things have been phenomenally better than for most of my friends
OtaKing Animation gives a step-by-step rundown of one method to combine 3D and 2D to animate spaceships, cars, planes, etc.
Acerola makes a bunch of great graphics programming videos. In this one, he tries to simulate the ocean without tiling
If you don’t think AI is changing things at a fundamental level, witness what is possible with voice models trained by ordinary people like ThereIRuinedIt:
Or Johnny Cash singing Barbie Girl
How? There’s a number of different ways you can try this yourself – but the list grows daily at this point, so do some googling and see what’s available.
- Microsoft: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/ai-services/speech-service/how-to-custom-voice-create-voice?tabs=neural
- Google Colab: https://colab.research.google.com/drive/1TU-kkQWVf-PLO_hSa2QCMZS1XF5xVHqs
- The Verge has a decent article as well: https://www.theverge.com/23864878/ai-voice-clones-podcastle-elevenlabs-personal-voice
- Imitate almost anyone’s voice with just 3 second sample: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/01/microsofts-new-ai-can-simulate-anyones-voice-with-3-seconds-of-audio/
A Ghost Story for Christmas was a series of annual British short television films originally broadcast on BBC One between 1971 and 1978, and revived sporadically by the BBC since 2005. The majority of the stories were from the collections of classic English ghost stories. Authors like M.R. James and others.
They’re definitely worth checking out, and it turns out a lot of them are online. You can also see them on Britbox. A Warning to the Curious is particular well done favorite of mine.
|Christopher Lee’s Ghost Stories for Christmas
|The Stalls of Barchester
|Dec 24, 1971
|A Warning to the Curious
|Dec 24, 1972
|Dec 25, 1973
|The Treasure of Abbot Thomas
|Dec 23, 1974
|The Ash Tree
|Dec 23, 1975
|Dec 22, 1976
|Dec 28, 1977
|The Ice House
|Dec 25, 1978
Revived series from 2005-present
The series ended in 1978. Maybe because of the two less than stellar final two entries: Stigma and The Ice House. Sadly, most of these are not online, but you might be able to find them via BBC and BritBox.
|Christopher Lee’s Ghost Stories for Christmas
|A View from a Hill
|23 December 2005
|22 December 2006
|Whistle and I’ll Come to You
|24 December 2010
|The Tractate Middoth
|25 December 2013
|The Dead Room
|24 December 2018
|24 December 2019
|24 December 2021
|23 December 2022
|Lot No. 249
Other good short ghost stories
- Warning to the Curious:
- Aldeburgh Suffolk. Coastal town on which M.R. James based the tiny town of ‘Seaburgh’.
- A really solid breakdown of filming locations
- Shorter breakdown of filming locations (at bottom below the list for Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You locations)
- A video visiting filming locations
- Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You
- Tractate Middoth Q&A with actors: https://youtu.be/MlKTDXWjioQ?si=aUcJmFYTpWFpiSTH
- Sampford Courtney, the village featured in ‘Martin’s Close: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWHjXcU4wcE