How Charles Dickens saved Christmas

The story behind the most famous Christmas story since the Nativity, from the Capitol Hill Times: When Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1842, the holiday was nearly dead in modern England. Christmas was celebrated by the rural and poor, but frowned upon by employers. It took an American, Washington Irving, to praise Christmas [Read More...]

Obama, Palin, Jobs and the Beach Boys enter Bartlett’s—and there’s an app for that

Check it out: The 18th edition of the venerable reference work has just been released, the first for the electronic age and a chance to take in some of the new faces, events and catchphrases of the past 10 years. General editor Geoffrey O’Brien says he has expanded upon the trend set by his predecessor, [Read More...]

Jack Kerouac, Catholic

And the beat goes on. I confess that I haven’t read a lot of Kerouac, and when I did I was in college, using all my free time to stay one step ahead of expulsion (my grades were terrible) and trying much too hard to be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Caffeine, not gin, was [Read More...]

Writing as sacrament: meet Deacon Ron Hansen

When my worlds collide: a former colleague of mine from CBS News, Bob Faw, profiles Catholic writer and deacon, Ron Hansen for the fine PBS program “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.” It’s superb.  Just watch. Watch Catholic Writer Ron Hansen on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. [Read more...]

Peggy Noonan jumps into the blogosphere

I noticed this the other day, and wondered when she had started blogging. I presume it was just in time for the conventions.  Politico notes: Out the gate, Noonan’s actually proven to have a great knack for the medium — mix of opinion and reporting, first-person informal, relatively frequent. Not bad for a 61-year-old veteran [Read More...]

The write stuff: Bulwer-Lytton winners announced!

And here’s a good one, winner in the category of Vile Puns: Though they were merely strangers on a train, as she looked North by Northwest though the rear window, Marnie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the trouble with Harry was that he was a psycho – his left and right hand middle [Read More...]

How to turn your Mac into a noisy old typewriter

Read all about it.  And check out the video below.  I’m in love.  Clackity clackity clackity clack. [Read more...]

They remember Nora

The stars came out in the afternoon in New York City today — all to pay tribute to writer/director/friend to everyone, Nora Ephron. Details: Of course there were recipes — different recipes in the programs the ushers handed out. One was for coconut macaroons. “Makes about 22,” it said. That would not have been enough [Read More...]

Nevermore: did you know you can actually see the raven that inspired Poe?

I sure didn’t. Details: When it comes to literary greats, inspiration can come from anywhere. For famed gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe, one idea came from a raven, which inspired his famous poem of the same name about the foreboding bird. Now that little black muse is enshrined in a history exhibit for all to [Read More...]

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God": Happy Birthday, Gerard Manley Hopkins

In tribute, a great poet reads a great poem by another great poet. Stanley Kunitz pays tribute.  The final lines remain among the most beautiful and hope-filled ever written.  Enjoy. [Read more...]


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