“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in AmSpec

now available in full: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? more--spoilerous for the middle of The Shining, but I like this article. For more on the point I'm trying to make at the end, see here. … [Read more...]

Underrated Horror Flick on Netflix Streaming!

I infest the fine blog Kindertrauma, with a recommendation for a 2012 indie horror movie which really struck me. More in comments. … [Read more...]

“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in the American Spectator

It's an overview of King's work plus a review of his two most recent novels: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? subscribers-only; I do actually think I make some good points here, so if you're interested in King you might get a hold of it. … [Read more...]

Carrying Her: Ann Patchett’s “Truth and Beauty”

Kafka has this great line, "A belief is like a guillotine: just as heavy, just as light." I could easily have titled a post about Ann Patchett's memoir of her friendship with poet and memoirist Lucy Grealy, "A Friend Is Like a Guillotine...." Lucy was light, literally--she had jaw cancer as a child, and the chemotherapy, radiation and endless surgeries she endured left her unable to chew and barely able to swallow, so she weighed very little. Ann carries her many times throughout this book. At … [Read more...]

“Never Quite Free”: My series on portrayals of penitence concludes

with a look at the Mountain Goats, We Shall All Be Healed. This piece has a couple lines I really like: One way to mistell stories of penitence is to envision penance as a linear process of restoration. You do a bad thing, you feel bad, you make amends (often in a way which involves saying ritual words like “I’m sorry,” or doing something which offers an obvious symbolic parallel to your wrongdoing), status quo ante. There can be truly sublime portrayals of this kind of almost mathematical penit … [Read more...]

“What’s So Bad About Casual Drug Use?”: Nick Gillespie

at Time: ...Nearly 50% of people have tried an illegal drug at least once, yet most don’t repeat the experience. With cocaine, most who have tried it not only don’t go on to became addicts under even the most expansive possible definition of the term, they don’t even go on to become regular users.According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 14.5% of Americans ages 12 and older have tried cocaine at least once, but just 1.8% report using the drug recreationally in the past … [Read more...]

Yoda and the Giving Tree: The Leaf-Green Faces of the Enemy

Two points connected solely by my desire to use this title.First, I am not going to say much about the long exchange in the comments to the post I was just talking about. You'll know pretty quickly if it's the kind of thing you can read without wanting to throttle a swan. But I wanted to register my full-throated agreement with Gabriel's disapproval of the Yoda line, "Do or do not. There is no try."People. This is very close to the opposite of the truth! First of all, many people who … [Read more...]


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