What Whiskey Goes With Cheese?: I read “The Spectacular Now”

This is just a quick note to say that I read Tim Tharp's Spectacular Now, the YA novel on which the movie was based, and I really enjoyed it. It's the tale of a high-school cutup and ladies' man who's also a barely-functional alcoholic. He's a generous, sweet-natured guy, fairly open about his self-deceptions, and a total cheeseball. The book is sometimes preachy in an authorial way, which I didn't care for, but most of its occasional swerves into preachiness are much more organic--high-school … [Read more...]

For Want of a Nail: I Watch “Boogie Nights”

Over the counter with a shotgun--Pretty soon, everybody's got one.I'm in a fever when I'm beside her, desire...--U2Now I have already mentioned that there was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it it got even stronger. It only said one thing, I want, I want!And I would ask, "What do you want?"But this was all it would ever tell me. It never said a thing except I … [Read more...]

“What’s the Punishment for Being a Stock Character?”: I Watch “As Above, So Below”

for AmCon: Well, I’ve never seen a Pelagian horror film before.“As Above, So Below” is a collision of lots of intriguing ideas and settings. It’s about a British professor’s quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone in the Paris catacombs, despite warnings that the Stone is hidden near “the gates of Hell.” So we get treasure-hunt adventure; religious horror; nature horror, as the archeological spelunkers get trapped in cave-ins and swim through tunnels deep underground; and what we might call “j … [Read more...]

“In Sweden, Human Darkness Is Confronted by the Arts, Not the Church”

terrific final paragraphs: The culture wars afflicting the Church of England are basically over. By the end of the summer, the General Synod will have agreed women bishops. And while the fight for full gay equality has some way to run, this one is substantially over too: not least because the demographics are pushing inexorably in a liberal direction. Young people, even evangelicals, don't see the problem. So Christian progressives like me ought to be celebrating? Well, not quite. more … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #10–Resurrection

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. When I was a baby dyke there was this craze for coming-out stories. I owned two volumes which I think … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #10–Crucifixion

But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. I don't really know how other Catholics do it, but I am a worrier and a gnawer by nature and so I most often find myself praying the rosary for various intentions--praying over issues in my own life or for other people, using the mysteries as jeweled lenses through which to view those issues. I don't do enough of praying the rosary simply in order to be … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #8–Crowning with Thorns

Weaving a crown out of thorns,they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”--Matt. 27:29They talked for over an hour. Near the end, after they'd been sitting in silence for a while, Burns said quietly, "Do you know what Christ died of?"Rivers looked surprised, but answered readily enough. "Suffocation. Ultimately the position makes it impossible to go on inflating the lungs. A terrible dea … [Read more...]


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