Dispatch from the Hurricane Sandy blackout

Looking uptown from within the downtown New York blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy.

I live in the middle of downtown Manhattan, so unless you have been on a self-imposed news blackout, you know that I’m in the midst of an electrical one, caused by Hurricane Sandy. Despite the warnings about potential outages, and despite the fact that I dutifully bought water and canned goods and made cold-brew coffee [Read More...]

Boo! My love-hate relationship with Halloween


Thoughts on my lifelong love-hate relationship with Halloween; video of the quintessential goth/Catholic/transgressive/punk song, “Stigmata Martyr” by Bauhaus; and a little history of the holiday [Read more...]

Christians look bad on Survivor… again


Survivor is obviously not reality. Of course the producers choose contestants who fit stereotypical character types. But it does come closer than most “reality shows” to showing real patterns in behavior. And once again, the worst of Christianity was on display. [Read more...]

Kathie Lee Gifford drops a puppy on its head, then blames the puppy


This post is about a case of indecency — not of human cruelty but of human callousness and stupidity. It’s trivial in the midst of this political season, I admit, but it was so offensive to me that I want to go on the record. I’m talking, of course, about Kathie Lee Gifford dropping a puppy on its head on live TV, and then blaming the puppy. [Read more...]

Making and sharing a meal for 36 — with recipes

Thai Green beans with basil and rice noodle salad with fresh garden vegetables

Sharing a meal together is so entwined with Christian fellowship as to be inseparable — we have some hermits, but even our monastic tradition is mostly about hospitality and community. When I visit a monastery, we come together as a community for two activities: chanting the Hours and meals — singing together and eating together. I’m grateful to be able to do that every week. Recipes and photos included. [Read more...]

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Groundbreaking female animator, and one of my spiritual anchors: Tissa David (1921-2012)


I lost one of my spiritual anchors a few weeks ago when Tissa David died at the age of 91. Most of the world knows her as a breakthrough female animator — an innovator who brought realistic motion to characters, especially female characters. I will remember her as the embodiment of contemplation. [Read more...]

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Jillian Jensen brings bullying center stage on The X Factor


On Wednesday’s premiere of season two of The X Factor, we were treated to a stunning performance by Jillian Jensen singing a Jessie J song to Demi Lovato and the other judges. Some of you might think this is just fluff, but I think of all the young girls who struggle with self-esteem issues that might have been helped by seeing Jillian… [Read more...]

Okonomiyaki and connecting through music


Music makes connections like no other art form, at least for me. Getting a late dinner of okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake) at Otafuku, a take-out place in my neighborhood, I hear a track I don’t know, but I think I recognize the groove. “Is that Krush?” I ask. (I used to spin DJ Krush a lot when I had a downtempo radio show.) “Yeah,” says the cook/manager with a surprised smile and we end up talking about Krush and Spooky and Shadow for half an hour, while he shares some of his favorite tracks with me off his iPod over the store’s stereo… [Read more...]

The Olympics, Aly Raisman and clear wins vs arbitrary tiebreakers


We want winners and losers. And we don’t want the winning and losing to be arbitrary, so even when it is, we pretend it’s not. If ever there were arbitrary results, the tied outcomes of several women’s gymnastic events at the London Olympics fit the bill. [Read more...]

Sigur Rós Live — Like a heron flying overhead

&copy 2012 Phil Fox RoseNot the same heron, but one I saw flying overhead at Ramshorn-Livingston Sanctuary on the Hudson at Catskill, NY, July 20, 2012

Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós has just begun a world tour starting with two weeks of US dates. Here’s a reflection on the transcendent quality of their music, treating secular music as worship music, singing in glossolalia, and the heron that flew overhead with perfect timing during the band’s outdoor Brooklyn show on Tuesday. [Read more...]