Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Tales of Mystery and Imagination (the Other One)

Album Cover

It’s October and Halloween is just around the corner, so now’s a perfect time to bring out Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Not the compilation of Edgar Allan Poe stories, though that’s good, too, but the Alan Parsons Project album based on various Poe stories and poems, though most aren’t from that specific collection – only “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

This album was something of a lucky find for me. About seven years ago or so I was browsing the vinyl section at a Half Price Books and stumbled across Tales. I wasn’t very familiar with APP outside a couple hit and that Parsons was involved with Pink Floyd, but those were enough to pique my interest. Also, I liked the idea of a concept album based on Poe’s stories and besides, used vinyl was very cheap aside from collectible stuff. I wouldn’t call it a great album, but it’s right up my alley and is quite good.…

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That Other Return of the King Movie

We’ve talked about Rankin and Bass’s version of The Hobbit, and you can’t talk about The Hobbit without also talking about The Lord of the Rings. Yeah, I know, it’s been three years since that earlier post, but I don’t like to be rushed. So, today we’re going to talk about about Rankin/Bass’s follow-up, The Return of the King.

“Now hold on,” you may be thinking. “That’s the third Lord of the Rings volume. What happened to The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers?” Well, I assume there were some rights issues involved, or perhaps they just didn’t want to retread the ground already covered by Ralph Bakshi’s unfortunate foray into Middle Earth, which was an animated and rotoscoped adaptation of Fellowship and about half of Two Towers and which had come out just two years earlier. To give you the timeline, R/B’s Hobbit was 1977, Bakshi’s LotR was 1978, and R/B’s LotR was 1980. I won’t go in to why things worked out that way; I don’t know and ultimately what matters is the film as we have it.

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Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game

Last year, we talked about the happy game of mahjong, focusing on how I got into the game and recommending a few resources for others wanting to get started. Today, though, let’s look at the art of the game, that is, the art of the tiles themselves. When people first encounter mahjong, the tiles are, naturally, the first thing they notice and as with Western playing cards there have been many lovely designs over the years by many artists. So, let’s check out the book Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game, by Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain, with photography by Michael Arnaud.

Israel and Swain begin with some brief introductory material and a history of mahjong (though they use the American-style spelling “mah jongg”). These are simply to orient the reader and are an appetiser to the main course, but they deserve credit for not promoting the old marketing hype about the ancient origins of mahjong; as they point out, its origins lie in the mid-19th Century. Most of the rest of the book is divided by tile material, paper, bamboo and wood, bakelite and catalin, pyralin and French ivory, Chinese bakelite, common metals, bone and bamboo, and precious materials. It ends with box art and a chapter on miscellany such as ephemera and photos of people playing mahjong.

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Notes on Praying the Divine Office

A few years ago I took an interest in beginning to pray the Divine Office to help bolster my prayer life. My goal was to add some structure to my prayers, so going through set prayers at regular intervals seemed like a good choice, but I quickly found that there are a lot of different options out there for learning how to say the Office in terms of websites, apps, and books, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. I’ve tried several of these, and though I’m still certainly no expert I thought I’d share my experience to offer a starting-point and make things easier for anyone interested in saying the Office themselves. I’m assuming that you know basically what the Office is but will start with a few important points you need to know. Then, I’ll go over some resources for actually praying the Office.

First, a few short notes. Typically, you’ll see the name “Divine Office” used to refer specifically to the pre-Vatican II form of the Office, while the newer form is more often called the “Liturgy of the Hours.” I like the newer name because it’s more descriptive, but I’ll follow the convention of using it only to refer to the newer form for simplicity.

The structure and concept of both the Office and the LotH are similar, and though I have a slight preference for the Office I like both and have found both very beneficial. The most important consideration here is which liturgical calendar you’re going to use. If you attend a Novus Ordo parish, you’ll probably want to use the LotH because it follows the new calendar. If you attend an FSSP, ICKSP, or SSPX parish you’ll probably want to use the Office because it follows the 1962 calendar, just as the associated Missal does. The large majority of feast days are the same between the two, but the names of each season and the dates of a handful of feasts are different, just enough that it’s certainly more convenient to use the Office/Liturgy that matches your parish. That’s especially true if you attend or watch livestreams of daily Masses, since the differing feasts are more noticeable than at Sunday liturgies.…

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