Pop Cultural Litmus Test of the Day


If viewing this image affords you half as much amusement and pleasure as creating it gave me, I urge you to seek medical advice immediately. (I hear Dr. Greg’s excellent with this sort of trouble…) I’m done for, I know — trapped in the Fire Swap of Pop Culture References. But there’s hope for you [Read More...]

The Smithsonian’s Annual Photo Contest Is A Visual Feast


Speaking of dangerous time sinks, Smithsonian Magazine recently unveiled the finalists for its 10th Annual Photo Contest. The 50 images are broken down into categories — The Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, and Altered Images — and as I scanned through them (and through the archived photos that took part in the nine previous contests), [Read More...]

The Art and Importance of Title Sequences


Title sequences are strangely under-appreciated things. When expertly wielded, there are few filmic tools more instrumental in setting the mood and tone for their audiences. Yet they get almost no attention, slaving away in relative obscurity. Perhaps we should demand an Academy Award for Best Credit Sequence, to assist these pillars of Cinemadome in receiving [Read More...]

Musical Meditation for the Third Sunday of Lent


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


“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”


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


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...]

Mesmerizing Time-Lapse Imagery of Austria’s Lake Hallstatt


This, my friends, is what’s known as “doing time-lapse video right.” (HD imperative.) Lake Hallstatt has been referred to as the “melancholic lake”, the “still fjord” and the “vision of a perfect mountain lake”. It is a classic relic of the Ice Age and it has a total area of 858 square metres lying between the steep [Read More...]

Whistle-Stoppin’ Through Wednesday


Wednesdays have always been the toughest workdays for me to handle. Mondays and Tuesdays are propelled forward by the left-over energy of the Weekend Past, while Thursdays and Fridays are pulled along by the gravity of the Weekend Future. But Wednesdays just sit there, obdurate. Which is why Brandon Vogt’s mention of Roger Miller’s beloved [Read More...]

Baseball’s Springtime Reminder


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. Renewing my subscription to the priceless (I wish) MLB.TV? Check. Hyperventilating over Saturday’s Spring Training openers? Check. [Read More...]