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...]

My Vampire Spring Continues With 1987′s “Near Dark”

HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS MASTERPIECE BEFORE?It is just so successful at doing what it promises. Kathryn Bigelow's horror classic is dusty, full of gorgeous sunsets and terrific use of light, breathtakingly sleazy, and emotionally effective. You get dirtbag biker-type vampires ("How old are you?" "Let's just say, I fought for the South") and a vampire child who's ridiculously fun, then actually scary, and then immensely sad. My jaw dropped at the brutal fights.I liked the moral … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: Me in AmSpec

not really a book review!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 never listened to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, but Darnielle’s diary of a 1980s te … [Read more...]

Cheer Up with the Smiths! I’m at the American Spectator

reporting live from 1984! What everybody forgets about the Smiths is how much fun they were.And not just fun: The band careened through the '80s putting out four studio albums which were joyful, sexy, funny, self-deprecating, silly, and even sometimes compulsively danceable. The myth of Morrissey and his mopey muse has some truth to it—and he made the jokes first, in song titles like “Miserable Lie,” “Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now,” “Pretty Girls Make Graves” and the rest—but the band mocke … [Read more...]

Blogwatch, With Her Gummy Hands

Some links for a slushy Saturday evening."LGBT Rights and the UN: What the Church Does Not Teach." Powerful."Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators." Basically because we've always had it too easy and don't know how to work. I'd heard most of this before and it very much rings true for me--studying Russian has been a fairly brutal confrontation with my own limits, my quick temper and immediate frustration and a whole host of other character defects which are brought out when a task is … [Read more...]

“I Would Like to Send You a Memory”

ok yes, there's some really great stuff here--I thought it would be glurgy or hipster but it is really neither of those things: The more I looked, the more I found. And I discovered that, secretly, the YouTube comment box had become the strangest and most wonderful place on the internet. A place that was fascinating, endlessly moving, and heartbreakingly human. "The hustle was sexy and graceful," and other moments of joy, penitence, grief, war, love, and growing up. … [Read more...]

Enough Is Never Enough… Of “The Stuff”!

So here in the wacky land we call the Catholic Church, Halloween is the beginning of spooky death season, not the end. All of November is set aside to honor the dead, and while I may have some serious posts on that theme, I also plan to watch a ton of horror movies, because I'm the Halloween equivalent of the person who gets really intense about singing Christmas carols on December 26, apparently. I started off with The Stuff, a 1985 killer-yogurt flick.Well, the 1985 killer-yogurt flick, I … [Read more...]


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