From Josip Novakovich, “April Fool’s Day”

"If he'd kept drinking slivovitz, he'd still be all right, I am sure. The trouble with vodka is that it doesn't feel like anything, so you can drink a whole bottle without vomiting or your throat burning. Slivovitz won't let you do that--when you drink it, you know you are drinking.""You are right about that. After two glasses, your stomach is on fire, and after three, you are vomiting. That's a good safety check built right into the drink. God's wisdom is in the plums--that's how He takes … [Read more...]

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“City of God”: Love and Rocket

I watched the 2003 favela gangster film City of God last night, and I have little to add to Victor Morton's insightful review: ...[T]he hyper-caffeinated style in CITY OF GOD is just breathtaking and entertaining as all get-go — the orange-clay look of the 50s segment, a bravura one-shot dissolve through the history of a single room in the favela over decades, the repeated freeze-frames, a 360-degree stop-motion shot, the great sequence of Benny’s “leaving the life” party. And it’s not all that … [Read more...]

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“Art Breakers”: I’m in The American Interest

reviewing: The first chamber sets up the thesis of “Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950,” at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington through May 26. As visitors enter, a 1950s filmstrip plays, showing nuclear blasts recorded for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. To one side, so you only see it once you’re already in the room, there’s a smashed baby grand piano with an axe still sticking out of its body: the remains of a 2013 performance art piece in which Raphael Montañez Ortiz hacked the … [Read more...]

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Seth Mnookin on Relapse and the Ghost World

One truism of addiction science is that long-term abuse rewires your brain and changes its chemistry, which is why triggers (or “associated stimuli,” in scientific parlance) are major risk factors for relapse. But these changes can be reversed over time. Walking past the apartment where my dealer used to live didn’t make me want to score; it made me feel as if I was in a phantasmagoria of two crosshatched worlds—but I was the only person who could see both realities. None of my colleagues at MIT, … [Read more...]

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“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...]

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From the Orthodox funeral service, quoted in “The Orthodox Way”

Of old thou hast created me from nothing,And honored me with thy divine image;But when I disobeyed thy commandment,Thou hast returned me to the earth whence I was taken.Lead me back again to thy likeness,Refashioning my ancient beauty. … [Read more...]

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“A Long, Cold Lent”: I read David Adams Richards’s “Friends of Meager Fortune”

it's CanCon for AmCon!: I saved The Friends of Meager Fortune, the second novel I’ve read by Canadian Catholic author David Adams Richards, for the polar vortex. If anything can make Boston in January seem warm, it’s this relentlessly grim tale of the last days of man-and-horse lumbering, with horses crashing through the ice and bloodied hands freezing on the reins.I’m conflicted about recommending the book. What is good in it is immensely powerful. The story of the doomed love of local fail … [Read more...]

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