Anatomy of a viral video

How does something uploaded onto YouTube turn into a sensation? Travel blogger Joel Oleson can tell you. He shot and posted online this quirky little video about a baby penguin encountering a person for the first time.  Take a look: Then he started noticing it was getting more interest than usual.  Traffic began going a [Read More...]

First look: “The Great Gatsby”

Here’s a first look at Baz Luhrman’s insanely art-directed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life high concept rendition of “The Great Gatsby.” I loved the book in high school, and even liked the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow movie of the 1970s, which made pink shirts with white collars unbelievably cool.  This version?  I dunno.  The trailer lurches between being an eyeful — [Read More...]

Where playing is like praying

The great Dan Barry of the New York Times captures something mysterious and nostalgic in this essay about playing basketball on a Sunday morning in a chilly Catholic school gym.  Turns out, it’s a lot like church: Bowed and gasping after each game, I feel the mysterious tug on my basketball jersey that tells me [Read More...]

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before: a white zebra

Reallly. Her name is Zoe.  Read all about her here. And yes, her eyes really are blue. [Read more...]

Hail, Mary: Israeli actress Odeya Rush to play Mary in “prequel to ‘Passion of the Christ’”

Well, that’s how one Hollywood writer is describing a promising new film scripted by the “Passion” scribe Benedict Fitzgerald and Barbara Nicolosi. Details: The movie about Mary, Mother of Christ that has been bouncing around Hollywood for years may be moving closer to reality. The Wrap reports that Alister Grierson has been tapped to direct the [Read More...]

LC leader admits he knew for years about Williams’ child

Another shoe drops: The leader of the Legionaries of Christ admitted on Tuesday he knew for years the scandal-plagued religious order’s most famous priest had fathered a child but still allowed the popular cleric to preach about morality. The religious order, still reeling from revelations that its founder was a sexual abuser and drug addict [Read More...]

Now I won’t feel so bad when people yawn during my homilies

There are other factors at work.  Or, at least, that’s what this guy says.  I’ll buy that. [Read more...]

Dolan: White House “strangling” Catholic church

He made the remarks this morning: The spat between Catholic leaders and the Obama administration over its contraception policies is heating up again, with one of the nation’s most prominent bishops charging that the White House is “strangling” the church over the matter. Archbishop Timothy Dolan told “CBS This Morning” Tuesday that the compromise reached [Read More...]

Happy blog-o-versary

Last Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of my ordination; this week marks the five-year anniversary of “The Deacon’s Bench.” Flipping through the archived scrapbook of memories, I found this warm appreciation of the diaconate by Rocco Palmo, who was an early booster of the blog.  Others began dropping by and mentioning The Bench — people [Read More...]

Turn off the computer and go to bed

Because it turns out that social networking is increasingly breaking up marriages: More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a  legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using [Read More...]


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