I made my retreat this week at St. Meinrad Abbey in southern Indiana, about 60 miles west of Louisville. I've been on retreat there before, although its been a few years. They built a new guest house, which is very nice; I recommend it. The monks get up at 5:30 am to pray the morning office; but pastors on retreat get up when they get up. It was very nice to focus on prayer and have time to read.
I left there this morning, and got back to Cincinnati about 1 pm; I thought I'd see a movie. I decided to see Cloverfield, (warning: I'm going to talk about the plot!) mainly because it's about a monster wrecking Manhattan -- what's wrong with that plot?
Here is what I have to say about the movie: it's a great movie to see, if you want to throw up. I didn't realize it was filmed, like Blair Witch Project, in "Herky-Jerky-Vision" (the idea is that the whole movie is filmed on a hand-held camera) and I spent most of the film with my eyes closed. I should have left, but I came to see the monster! And it was a pretty impressive creature.
After that, I headed to Dayton to meet a brother priest for dinner, but I was ahead of schedule, so I did a little shopping; I needed some shoes and some sweaters, and lo and behold, they were marked way down as I think they usually are this time of year.
I don't make a point to visit malls; my favorite method of shopping is like that of military special ops (at least as movies tell the story): get in, get "the package," and get your team out double-time!.
Anyway, I walk into the mall, and my stomach is still doing flip-flops, and I think, "I need to eat something"; then something hits my nose that smells really good; it's a pretzel stand nearby. "What can I get you Sir?" a pleasant young lady asks me; "whatever that is that smells so good!" It was a cinnamon pretzel; okay, sounds fine. "Would you like some icing with that?" Okay, I guess. Three bucks and change later, I look at what I have: a soft pretzel, completely encrusted in sugar and cinnamon, and just in case I'm feeling a little sugar-deprived, a little container of "dipping sauce." What? No ice cream or sprinkles?
Have you been to a mall lately? (I get there a couple times a year, I'm not totally out of touch.) Have you walked by an Abercrombie or Hollister store? Does anyone else think there is something very wrong going on here: the only thing you see is a huge poster, in the doorway, featuring four or five very attractive young people (they looked about college age) artfully photographed in black-and-white, and--this is the notable point for a clothing store--that they wore clothing seemed an afterthought. One young man seemed in danger of stepping out of his jeans entirely, the only article of clothing he was wearing. A similar emphasis on "male pulchritude" (to use William F. Buckley's uptown expression) carried through in the other posters I could see as I walked by.
Next store was "Abercrombie for kids" -- the main franchise is aimed, supposedly, at college and above, while this other store is aimed at high school; yeah, right. meanwhile, "Hollister" is a subsidiary of Abercrombie that, from all appearances, takes essentially the same approach.
Parents, what do you think about this? Do you think this is okay? When you see these porny images--and then your kids dress that way, is that really how you want to see your kids? Anyone care to tell me I'm making too much of this?
After this, I headed to the restaurant; I got there way before my friend, so I told the waitress it was okay if she ignored me (and, yes, I gave her extra in the tip); when my friend didn't show at the expected time, I called him, left a message; about 10 minutes he called me back: "are you in the restaurant? Where? Stand up!" He was at another table, the other side of the place, and had been for 10 minutes or so.
We had a nice visit over dinner, and I headed back here to check in, and throw some more vanities on the bonfire.