Checking Into The Weekend, New Pope in Tow

Pope Francis' first day on the job

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? My Fridays are a bit unfocused under the most ordinary of circumstances, and the roiling emotions of the past few weeks have been anything but ordinary. (Think we’ve had it crazy? Try imagining what life’s been like for Monsignor Guido Marini over the past month or so. Monday’s “Extra Omnes” moment [Read More...]

Watching with the Family as Papal History Unfolds

Happy Francis

I love the fact that we must wait to learn the identity of the new pope. In this explosively-expanding technopoly of ours, having to wait seems borderline absurd. We use our cell phones to help diagnose and treat diseases, but when the Catholic Church wants to notify its members of the most important decision it [Read More...]

No Commentary Necessary — “Habemus Papam” Edition


Yes, I know it’s Lent. But come on, people. We have a pope! Bonus Celebratory Music: Palestrina’s “Tu es Petrus” — always beautiful, but particularly appropriate today. Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam. Et tibi dabo claves regni cælorum. [Read more...]

Today’s Conclave Soundtrack: England’s Robert Johnson II


This afternoon, I’m calming my nerves (and ignoring the enormous Catholic elephant in the room) with a bit of Robert Johnson’s lute music, courtesy of my dad. It’s entirely possible that I’ve heard Johnson in the past, but I don’t think I’ve heard of him until I started to investigate this particular clip. The occasionally-reliable [Read More...]

Makoto Shinkai’s “Garden of Words”


Last year, when a friend suggested Makoto Shinkai’s The Place Promised in Our Early Days as a potential fit for my bizarre cinematic tastes, I was intrigued. And when I heard the director described as “The New Miyazaki,” I moved well past intrigued; I could hardly wait. It was fascinating (both artistically and philosophically), and I resolved [Read More...]

What Bothered Me Most About Rand Paul’s Filibuster


There were a number of things about Wednesday’s Capra-esque spectacle that bothered me. But the one that I couldn’t get out of my mind no matter what? The one that compelled me to break one of my cardinal blogging rules: “Thou Shalt Not Write On Politics, Lest Your Ignorance Be Laid Bare Before the Entire [Read More...]

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...]