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 #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...]

“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...]

Painting the Town Red: “The Exiles,” A Masterpiece of Lost L.A.

Kent MacKenzie's The Exiles played exactly once, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and then vanished for more than forty years. It was rediscovered in 2003, and you can find it now on Netflix--which you should do, for real, here's why.The Exiles follows a group of American Indian men and women over the course of one night at the very end of noir-era Los Angeles. The neighborhood where the film was shot was demolished--excuse me, I mean renewed--shortly afterward. The Native actors were … [Read more...]

17th-Century Wind-Up Drinking Robot Goddess Game

It's like a Mad Libs of awesome: It turns out our modern drinking games are weak sauce compared to how European aristocrats partied in the 17th century. Today it’s often about how many shots you can handle in under an hour or what word will signal a waterfall on the latest Bachelorette. Back then, it was apparently about mechanical, heavy, often pointy, and usually animated objects that carried a ton of booze. more … [Read more...]


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