Martin Sheen: Broken, Bowed and Happy

Making Apocalypse Now pulled Martin Sheen into the heart of his own personal darkness. His latest project, The Way, the story of a bereaved father making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, stirs memories of his countermarch back toward the light. If the film turns out to be half as moving as this [Read More...]

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What Price Perfection?

John Belushi and Humphrey Bogart were born too late. On the other hand, if you’re reading this, and haven’t yet died of lung cancer, or from shooting up a speedball, you might be right on time. According to the New York Times, researchers at San Diego’s Scripps Institute are planning work on a vaccine that [Read More...]

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The Renaissance of the Man-Cuddle?

I hadn’t been in Russia twelve hours before some guy kissed me on the neck. Having flown into Sheremeteevo Airport early in the morning, I checked into the hostel where my study group was to be quartered and spent the afternoon sightseeing. Upon returning early that evening, I discovered that — providentially — someone had [Read More...]

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How to End Illegal Immigration

School officials in Alabama are reporting a sudden disappearance of Hispanic students. The Associated Press reports that some parents said they planned to leave the state “to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.” Like that old joke about 100,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, this is [Read More...]

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Wanted for Baseball: A Strong Pope

To all appearances, the Boston Red Sox broke their curse once and for all during the 2004 World Series, when they took the Cardinals in four straight games. Now, in view of Boston’s late loss to Baltimore, some are saying that the hoodoo is still very much operational and under warranty. In Slate, Brian Palmer [Read More...]

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Beware the Coach with An Artistic Temperament

High school football just went gothic. After Marcellus High’s junior varsity squad lost a game, head coach Jim Marsh ordered the team bus to stop at a local cemetery. Exactly what happened next is still subject to dispute, but some are claiming Marsh used this visit to the abode of the dead as the backdrop [Read More...]

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Al Qaeda to Iran: Darn Tootin’ We Done It!

Remember that scene in A Few Good Men, where Colonel Jessup, his pride having conquerd his instinct for self-preservation, screams, “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I ORDERED A CODE RED ON [WHATEVER THAT KID'S NAME WAS]“? Well, it looks like Al-Qaeda has reached that point, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the role of Lieutenant Kaffee. In [Read More...]

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Pretty As A Picture

During my last miserable year of grad school, I found occasion to court the woman who had, in my last year as an undergrad, taught the German class I took as an elective. Though she’d lived most of her life in the Valley, she looked the part of Biergarten waitress, at least judging by how [Read More...]

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Phoenix Goes Dry; I Weep

In a Bill Mauldin cartoon that ran in Stars and Stripes during World War Two, two officers are standing on a peak somewhere in the Apennines or Vosges, gazing at a breathtaking sunset. Turning toward the other, one asks, “Beautiful view! Is there one for enlisted men?” This image, I’m afraid, is exactly what comes [Read More...]

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The Addict Saint

When I taught ESOL in China, the first thing that struck me was the English first names the students had assigned themselves for the purposes of the class. They’d chosen them some years ago, when they first began studying, and were already quite attached to them. I can only assume they were inspired by their [Read More...]

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The Meanest Jesus Ever

In her short story “Parker’s Back,” Flannery O’Connor describes the reaction of a tattoo aficionado to an image of Jesus that confounds all of his expectations. The ink lover, one O.E. Parker, employed as a farmhand since his bad-conduct discharge from the U.S. Navy and unhappily married to the dour Sarah Ruth Cates, has taken [Read More...]

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Ask; They’ll Tell

I don’t imagine there will be much rejoicing in these quarters over the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which went into effect at 12:01 this morning. I had planned, by way of offering consolation, to blog on the career of Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignan, whose armies won back a big share of Eastern Europe [Read More...]

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Gamers Save World from AIDS

That’s a slight exaggeration. Okay, it’s a huge exaggeration. Still, it contains a solid grain of truth. University of Washington video game enthusiasts have succeeded in mapping the structure of the monomeric protease enzyme, which Yahoo! News calls “a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV”: Figuring out [Read More...]

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Deaths the Right Will Never Cheer

Lately, GOP debate crowds have earned the reputation of being bloodthirstier than any mob since Constantine declared that Christians were for loving, not for feeding to wild animals. They erupted into cheers when Brian Williams reminded Rick Perry of the 234 prisoners he’d executed during his tenure as governor of Texas. When Wolf Blitzer presented [Read More...]

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When Does Fundraising Become a Shakedown? — UPDATED!

Since yesterday, when news first broke of the conflict between Bishop Zurek of Amarillo and Priests for Life Head Fr. Frank Pavone, a number of readers have written critically of PFL’s funraising campaigns. On the Anchoress blog, one reader complains that her mailbox has been “flooded” with PFL appeals. Another provides numbers: “2-3 per week,” [Read More...]

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A Lesson from Fr. Pavone: How to Behave on the Carpet

When I saw, on the Anchoress Blog, that Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life had been suspended from priestly ministry outside his diocese, my knee jerked right up. I’ll admit it: I thought: “Here we go again, another diva.” In my defense, the letter published by Bishop Zurek of Amarillo seems calculated, at least [Read More...]

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