A 1987 of the Heart: I Rewatch “Less Than Zero”

...because of course I do.So this used to be on Netflix streaming, but I didn't tell you about it then, because what am I, your butler? Anyway, you can still get it through Netflix Delayed Gratification. The first time I watched LTZ was December 2011, about a month before I had my last drink (so far). I don't know if it was what I do for a living--the compulsively analytical eye of the person who gets engulfed by art for money--or the emotional numbness and batteredness of active addiction, … [Read more...]

“Ten Ways Addiction Is Different in America”: The Invaluable Maia Szalavitz

at Substance: We Americans like to think of ourselves as exceptional, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the City on the Hill and all that. When it comes to the politics and culture of drugs, we are indeed special—or at least dramatically different from the rest of the Western world. Too often, however, we are special for the wrong reasons. more … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #7–The Scourging at the Pillar

But he was pierced for our sins,crushed for our iniquity.He bore the punishment that makes us whole,by his wounds we were healed. Departing from my previous practice of quoting the Gospels to give you this bit from Isaiah, because it gets at the reason this mystery is so important to me. When I was growing up my parents subscribed to Tikkun, a progressive Jewish magazine with the slogan, "To heal, repair, and transform the world. All the rest is commentary." That's cute and I get … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #3–The Nativity

MORE BABIES, until now I don't think I'd realized how much the first three mysteries are like, babies everywhere. I've already posted a nice little Christmas ditty about eviction and racial violence, and anyway, I generally pray this mystery for my own rebirth of sobriety, my rescue from the nightmare basement. I pray to receive sobriety with the joy and gratitude with which Mary welcomed her Child, and to be protective of my very young sobriety as she protected and nurtured the infant … [Read more...]

A Musical Rosary–The Visitation

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your gre … [Read more...]

And All at Once I Had to Face the Big Light: Some movie reviews

Rachel Getting Married: The story of a woman coming out of rehab just in time for her sister's wedding. I think even people who don't share my particular issues would find this a gripping, intensely painful story, showing our attempts at self-justification (and how even our attempts to do the right thing, be good, and/or make amends become self-centered and self-justifying) and how hard it is for well-meaning people to love one another. The set-piece scenes, like the toasting, are uniformly … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: I’m in AmSpec

on music, drinking, and John Darnielle's novel Master of Reality. You can read it now even if you don't subscribe: I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve n … [Read more...]


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