Musical Meditation for the Third Sunday of Lent

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As I reflected on Andrei Tarkovsky’s “The Sacrifice” last week, I was reminded of the wonderfully Lenten aria that serves as its musical backbone: Erbarme Dich, mein Gott from J.S. Bach’s Matthäus-Passion. My recommendation? Don’t watch. Just listen. Erbarme dich, mein Gott, Um meiner Zähren Willen ! Shaue hier, Herz und Auge Weint vor dir bitterlich. Erbarme dich, [Read More...]

Calming the Waves of the Pope’s Departure

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“Do not be afraid,” I tell myself. “He’s still in the boat.” These are momentous times for the Church. Changing one’s shepherd under normal circumstances is already an historic, life-changing event. Add in the wrinkle of searching for a new shepherd as the last one is still settling into his new (and still very much [Read More...]

Urgent Netflix Alert: Tarkovsky’s “The Sacrifice”

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If you (like me) do the vast majority of your movie viewing through Netflix Watch Instantly, and if you (like me) are inexpressibly-but-powerfully drawn to obscure, challenging, metaphysical magnum opera, then today is your lucky day: Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice (Offret) is currently streaming. Alexander, a retired professor who lives on a remote island, is [Read More...]

Lenten Listening with Pavel Chesnokov

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Today, as I crunched my early morning way through the blinding, post-storm whiteness, Pavel Chesnokov’s “Salvation is Created” popped unbidden into my head. I did not complain. WARNING:  I’m not entirely sure for which liturgical season this piece is most appropriate. My instinct  – based on the lyrics — is that it was written for [Read More...]

Baseball’s Springtime Reminder

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It’s happening again, as it does every year. I’ve got a fever; a debilitating, devouring, demoralizing fever. And the only prescription is more baseball. Luckily, it’s late February. So I should be able to get this cleared up in no time. View image | gettyimages.com Renewing my subscription to the priceless (I wish) MLB.TV? Check. Gearing up [Read More...]

Into the Wilderness

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Therefore, in the punishment, and also in the malediction of the soil, there remains a good intention that comes from God. When he says to man, “You are dust and to dust you shall return!” together with the just punishment he also intends to announce a path of salvation, which will travel through the earth, [Read More...]

Reacting to The Resignation

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Yes. If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign. — Benedict XVI My Latin’s undeniably rusty, so as I listened to Papa Benedetto’s announcement this morning, I [Read More...]

Taking Old-Time Baseball Literally

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On a day when our own beloved Tom McDonald highlights (and then waxes most interestingly upon) yesterday’s borderline unbelievable historical discovery, I’ve got my own little historical tidbit to share: They found an old baseball. Really, really old. During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and [Read More...]

Righting One of Oscar’s Greatest Wrongs

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View image | gettyimages.com Thanks to the Variety series on this year’s Oscar-nominated cinematographers, I am reminded of one of my cinematic life’s most painful, inexplicable truths: Roger Deakins has never won an Oscar. As someone who has seen none of the 2012 films in question, I can’t speak to Deakins’ worthiness in this particular contest. [Read More...]

Living More With a Whole Lot Less

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While browsing through Vimeo’s “Staff Picks” a few days ago, I happened across the following highly improbable phrase, instantly deserving of inclusion in my “Humans Are Endlessly Interesting” file (which seems perpetually filled to bursting): Richard is the fascinating story of a travelling piano tuner who chooses to live outdoors. I’ve always loved piano tuners. [Read More...]


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