Crossing Over with Béla Fleck


Here’s what I’m listening to right now. Also known as “what you’re listening to right now.” You’re welcome. That’s Paganini’s Allegro vivace a movimento perpetuo. But it’s not your grandfather’s Paganini. For that, I give you Gil Shaham, “The Traditionalist.” Here’s a slightly less traditional (but really fun) version from Wynton Marsalis. But wait. There’s [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “Pigs Is Pigs”


When someone mentions The Walt Disney Company® in my presence, the first thing that springs to mind is never “Monstrous Media Leviathan” or “Coming-Of-Age-Princesses with Silly Singing Sidekicks.” It’s not the old-timey features like Pinocchio or Snow White or Fantasia. Nor is it one of the many live-action features that were staples of my early teen [Read More...]

What Sundays Sound Like with Seven Boys


This weekend was pretty typical fare for the Susanka Seven and their handlers…er…parents. My activities included (but were not limited to): Spearheading the instantly-legendary ice-fishing and fish hatchery expedition; Providing transportation (and motivation) for the paper routes; Ensuring the three eldest served the required range of Sunday (and Vigil) Masses; Shopping for a terrifying amount [Read More...]

Streaming Suggestion: “The Blue Planet”


Sometimes, I get all fired up and excited about something I’m going to recommend, only to discover that it’s not available on any of the mainstream streaming platforms. When that happens, I’m always crushed. Have to start all over again. (Yes, if I was organized/thinking clearly, I’d check first, before getting my hopes up. No, [Read More...]

The Ural Owls of Sven Začek


These images are stunning. Breathtaking, no? They’re the work of Estonian wildlife photographer Sven Začek, whose spectacular images are growing rapidly obligatory/ubiquitary on my computer desktop. That last shot of the Ural Owl staring straight into the camera as it zooms past is my personal favorite, both as an amateur photographer (whose mind is boggled by [Read More...]

The Moment I Knew I Would Always Love Movies


I’m not quite sure why it popped into my head, but I was recently reflecting on the question of whether or not there was a single point in my life from which my love for film originated — a particular movie or even a particular scene before which I was a fairly mild film viewer [Read More...]

“No More Sorrow” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo


This is exactly what I needed today. Exactly. That’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African choral group most recognized for their work on Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” And the sound of their singing is astonishingly joyful. Which means it’s hard for me to think of a group more fitted to sing a song about the passing away [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “The Lunch Date”


Today’s short? Adam Davidson’s 1989 Oscar-winner, The Lunch Date. I love the old timey vibe here. And all the wonderful little details, like the constant presence of the homeless that make her so uncomfortable; the hyper-obvious crunching of the lettuce; the way you watch her emotions shift from horror and confusion to flat-out anger. In fact, it’s [Read More...]

Short and Sweet. A Sweet Short. Oh, And Grasshoppers.


This is fantastic. (Or, as my kids would say, “This is AWESOME!!!”) My first inclination is to want more. But then I realize how much of its charm is connected to its length. So I’ll just settle for “More marvelous animation from Wayne Unten.” Out. [Read more...]

Streaming Suggestion: “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX INSTANT. Yes, today’s Valentine’s Day. No, this isn’t a good Valentine’s Day film, though I did spent a couple of minutes or hours trying to figure out how to sell it that way. …so this can be for tomorrow, then. While the Civil War [Read More...]