Quote of the day

From Catholic comedian Jim Gaffigan:  “I watch the faces of single people in their twenties after I bring up that I ‘have children.’ I imagine them taking a small step backward as if to avoid contagion, with a look of ‘Sorry to hear that’ on their face. Like I naively volunteered to contract leprosy, forever [Read More...]

Here’s a Different Protagonist for a Thriller: a Deacon

Details:  He has worked all over the world, from foreign relations assignments to speech pathology to motivational speaking, but another career path has embroiled Redlands resident Roger Burgraff in murder, blackmail, and the darker side of the human soul. That career is in fiction, fortunately: In May, Burgraff published a thriller, “Deacon’s Winter,” about a [Read More...]

What Are Kids Reading in School?

You might be surprised. From NPR:  “Last year, we had more than 8.6 million students from across the country who read a total of 283 million books,” says Eric Stickney, the educational research director for Renaissance Learning. Students participate in the Accelerated Reader program through their schools. When they read a book, they take a [Read More...]

A Visit to “The Great Gatsby’s” Valley of Ashes Today

Anyone who’s seen the newest incarnation of “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, or read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book, remembers that ominous “valley of ashes,” a desolate corner of Queens that Gatsby and his entourage pass through on the way to Manhattan—and the setting for a critical twist in the plot. A few years [Read More...]

Jim Gaffigan, hipster Catholic

From Michelle Boorstein in the Washington Post comes this profile of funnyman Jim Gaffigan: Gaffigan seems to effortlessly embody the idea the Catholic Church and other denominations are desperately promoting: You can be a devout member of mainstream American life. You don’t have to leave God in order to live in the regular world. With [Read More...]

My American Idol

It’s a weird thing to do, but I have to start this post on the evil of idols by talking about my idol. Her name is Elizabeth Scalia. She’ll hate that. She can’t stand it when people make a fuss over her. And she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a miserable, worthless, slobbering [Read More...]

“A Light That Is Well Placed Does Not Repel Others…”

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Strange Gods, the first book by our own Elizabeth Scalia.  (I’m working my way through it now and hope to write about it in the next few days; I can report that my wife, who rarely reads anything other than her Bible, read the book in one [Read More...]

“The Great Gatsby” as sermon

From the canny mind of Fr. Robert Barron:  Fitzgerald saw that, given the breakdown of traditional morality and the marginalization of God, many people in the postwar West simply surrendered themselves to wealth and pleasure. Commitment, marriage, sexual responsibility, and the cultivation of a spiritual life were seen as, at best, holdovers from the Victorian [Read More...]

Our Pope, the Page-Turner

Pope Francis has sparked a mini publishing boom.  And recently I looked at three new books about him:  While people may have different opinions about Pope Francis, we can all agree on this: he has been very good for the publishing industry. In the short time since his election and inauguration, publishers have rushed to [Read More...]

All That Jazz: How F. Scott Fitzgerald Wound Up in a Catholic Cemetery

Some days back, I wrote about the Fitzgerald grave, which rests just outside the church where I was married 27 years ago. The Washington Post recently revisited the churchyard, and offers more about the fabled author’s final resting place: Things have changed for Scott and Zelda. “We usually see a handful of people visiting the cemetery [Read More...]