The Tree of Life: An Overview

   Characters: Father: Brad Pitt. Mother: Jessica Chastain. Adult Eldest Son: Sean Penn. Eldest Son (Jack): darker-haired, big eared, occasionally mean boy. Middle Son: dirty blonde, artist (guitar and painting), gentle boy. Youngest Son: sandy brown hair.   Scenes, in sequential order: The Two Ways: A prism flame in the darkness. Voice: “Brother. Mother. It was they who led me to your door.” The way of grace and the way of nature.Grief: Mother finds out that middle son has bee … [Read more...]

On Rigor

(The late David Foster Wallace's 2005 "This Is Water" Kenyon College commencement speech drones in my headphones and Rebel Without a Cause plays on mute in the corner; it is chilling to listen to DFW speak descriptively about suicide and I am arrogant to enough to find it all quite underwhelming, in a very comforting, soothing, and self-assuring way.)A young professor from Fordham showed up late to my talk in New York a month ago. He asked me a very serious question though, one of those … [Read more...]

The Womb of Love: A Womanist Manifesto

The Ascension is a soft-spoken Catholic feast about dwelling in a prolonged and reoccurring Advent.More and more, I feel like all feasts eventually collapse on each other, but today the feast of the Ascension feels unique because of its peculiar absence, its anti-climatic and even surprising exit.Birth, Death, and Resurrection is much more straightforward. It covers all the bases and leaves no loose ends.But there's more? Yes, yes, there is. Salvation history is an … [Read more...]

Franciscan Theatrics: Papa Francisco’s Gangsta Ways

"Show, don't tell." This could be the Franciscan evangelical motto. The Franciscan tradition is rooted in story, stories of Father Francis doing crazy, wild, and beautiful things. St. Francis was, in many respects, a fool. He saw things in the most literal, direct ways. A childlike artist.Finger painting.When called to rebuild Christ's Church, Francis began with his hands. Only later did he realize that the work was not a brick and mortar affair. This is the man who placed a manger under … [Read more...]

Space, and not being smart in an e-mail.

Sorry, readers. The end of the month is usually the time when I'm trying to meet all the end of the month deadlines that I should've started to work on a month or more ago. I'm swamped. In the meantime, here's an e-mail I just sent to my Foundations of Educational Thought class. You might find it interesting.Some context: I often assign an infamous first paper where students must describe the word 'word' in one page. The better way to put the prompt is like this. Describe the following … [Read more...]

A Tale of Three Cubicles (full length)

Part OneI was first assigned to the beam-cutting station, but I asked to be reassigned. I wanted to weld. It seemed honorable and I wanted to be somebody. But I guess no ones asks to be a welder once they get to the cutting stations. I was given the materials: gloves, sleeves, apron, mask. I needed boots. No tennis shoes. I don't recall the details or the exact time, but I passed an initial inspection of some kind. I was first assigned to be a go-fer, which sucked. I took naps and wasted a … [Read more...]

A Tale of Three Cubicles, Epilogue

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Part I Part II Part IIII was destined for the collar. Everyone seemed to see that, and believe it, too. Fr. O'Malley, the priest who converted my father and baptized me, would take me out for a steak dinner sometimes. He'd always say, "When you're a priest, you can eat steak everyday." That stuck. I love to eat. I felt obligated to say that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. Not sure why, but I knew there was no firefighting in my future. I was a devout and precise altar server … [Read more...]

A Tale of Three Cubicles, Part III

Part I Part IIThe opening details are mostly unimportant. The hiring process was convoluted and indirect. I quit my job at Target to work closer to where we lived, working on an IT project for Medtronic Corporation, as a consultant for another middle-man corporation. I had to get hired by both of them. Still an hourly employee, but making ten dollars more per hour. My official title, which I only learned after a week or two on the job, was something along the lines of a "coordinator." Most … [Read more...]

A Tale of Three Cubicles, Part II

Part I.Bilingual Benefits Representative. That seemed pretty good. What was it? Target Corporation, corporate headquarters. Sounded important enough. Fourteen dollars an hour, plus ten percent off at Target stores and lots of perks to rent limousines and go watch WMBA games. (I did both.) I was teaching Spanish. 26k a year before deductions. With my commute and everything else I was beginning to feel like Tolstoy's Ivan Ilych: underpaid and under-appreciated. Unlike Ilych, I actually was … [Read more...]

A Tale of Three Cubicles, Part I

I was first assigned to the beam-cutting station, but I asked to be reassigned. I wanted to weld. It seemed honorable and I wanted to be somebody. But I guess no ones asks to be a welder once they get to the cutting stations. I was given the materials: gloves, sleeves, apron, mask. I needed boots. No tennis shoes. I don't recall the details or the exact time, but I passed an initial inspection of some kind. I was first assigned to be a go-fer, which sucked. I took naps and wasted a lot of time. … [Read more...]


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