Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico: A Fever Dream

One reason I loved the Mountain Goats' new album Beat the Champ so much is that it speaks about a kid projecting his own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of pro wrestling, in a way which deeply resonated with my experience projecting my own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of figure skating. If I made my own sports concept album it would be Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico, and it would be about, mostly, the Lillehammer Olympics, which allowed skaters who had left … [Read more...]

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David Carr, RIP

I now inhabit a life I don't deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn't end anytime soon.--The Night of the Gun I've noticed in reading the tributes to David Carr that he used the word "caper" a lot. He talked about life--sobriety, work, marriage, parenting--like it was a carnival, like it was something he was getting away with. His book, which obviously you should read, is one of the few "addiction memoirs" which make … [Read more...]

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The Mayor-for-Life, At Least

Marion Barry, RIP.Look, Barry started out as a civil-rights organizer throwing block parties in the hood, and ended as an advocate for people coming out of prison. In between he presided over a decade and a half in which DC suffered disproportionately from the violence which swept through all US cities in the '80s and '90s. I know it started before we even had "home rule" (ish) and everybody else's city also suffered and hey, at least he didn't declare a state of emergency and try to call … [Read more...]

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“Youngest Son Adds Laments to the Indie Hymnal”: I’m at AmCon

with some music: We’ve tussled here about the possible merits of Mumford & Sons, and discussed other albums from the Christ-haunted section of the indie music world. There may be enough of these artists now to constitute a tradition or subgenre: heartfelt guys with sincere guitars, aching and unslaked souls whose faith is found in silhouette, in the negative space which remains despite everything they’ve lost. Youngest Son, a project of heartfelt/sincere Chicagoan Steve Slagg, has two new al … [Read more...]

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Musical Rosary #14–Assumption

The two things I focus on with this mystery are the union of body and soul--Mary enters Heaven all at once, continuing her lifelong task of showing us what true human integrity looks like--and the rest and peace offered to those who "have fallen asleep in the Lord." I often pray this mystery for people whose lives were unpeaceful and for whom death may have appeared to be a relief or a release, in the hopes that death will bring them to purgatory and to a much deeper and sweeter rest than they … [Read more...]

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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...]

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“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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