Double Review: My Reality-TV Rehab Novel, Gil Fagiani’s Rehab Survivor Poetry

reviewed by Jendi Reiter: ...Logos is a collection of persona poems set at a heroin treatment center of that name, in the South Bronx in the 1960s. It comes out of Fagiani’s own experience, first as an inpatient there, and later as a social worker at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and the director of a rehab center in Brooklyn. The desperation of addiction has a way of levelling distinctions between races, classes, and professional backgrounds. The first-person narrator of some of these poems, p … [Read more...]

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The Human Heart Is a Cactus, The Desert Makes It Bloom: Notes on Friendship and a Courage Conference

So I was invited to a conference run by Courage, a Catholic ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Prof. Janet Smith and I had a dialogue which I thought went fairly well, and which I think they'll eventually make available online. I also have an essay in the book that resulted from the conference, Living the Truth in Love. Here are three smallish thoughts about friendship, in light of what got said at that conference.1. One of the speakers was Dan Mattson, and as always I was so … [Read more...]

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Doctors and Policemen

From now on whenever I do or say something awful to somebody I'm gonna tell them, "But it's a form of therapy!"Story #1, from last year: "To Stay Out of Jail, Must Nonviolent Offenders Submit to Medical Diagnoses?" Last week, those favoring reductions in prison populations and their associated costs applauded Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that he's seeking an end to mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. For administration critics who feel drug war reforms … [Read more...]

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Musical Rosary #13: Descent of the Holy Spirit

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Kind of a stretch today, but the Holy Spirit calls us together and guides us when we act as a Christian community. Pentecost is a story of diversity within unity: the wildly varied languages which express a common call from God, like the many weird vocations by which we serve that same … [Read more...]

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“Every Day Is Like Sunday: Rediscovering Wilfrid Sheed’s ‘The Hack'”

Me at AmCon: Don’t call Wilfrid Sheed’s 1963 The Hack a forgotten Catholic classic. I don’t want it to be dismissed so easily.Sheed was the scion of Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, the Catholic publishers and apologists; he knew that pre-Vatican II world of professional religion from the inside. The Hack is a satirical tragedy about Bert Flax, a man who supports his wife and five children by writing pabulum for the lower levels of the Catholic press: angels with cotton-candy wings, Irish … [Read more...]

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“Five Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser'”: Cracked

well worth reading even if you have no especial interest in weight loss or shows about ditto: ...Every week on the show, you watched us exercising and working out. That's part of the process, of course -- making people healthier. But they don't show the additional mandatory six hours or so of us furiously flailing the pounds away. They much preferred filming us right at the end of a workout, when we looked like lazy quitters for stopping so early. Even the giant scale they had us all weigh in … [Read more...]

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From “Master of Reality”

I got this calendar free with dinner at New China up on Foothill. They were giving them away if you ate there in January. One thing about me is that I always get maximum use out of free things. When the managers from around the country all went to San Diego for the region-wide management training summit, I kept all the soaps and shampoos from the hotel room they'd put me in. I also kept the toothpaste. And I didn't keep them in a closet as a souvenir of the management training summit, either: I … [Read more...]

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