Three Little Words – UPDATE

Deacon Greg used his phone to take this picture -- an ad on the back of a NYC bus, promoting NET-NY (Where of course, In the Arena and Currents are produced, along with many other great programs).Even if the ad promoted nothing at all, I love the idea of that message being seen on the streets of New York.Or any streets, anywhere, especially in these times.They are, after all, the consoling words of our visiting angels.UPDATE: Someone writes that they liked the words, not the image -- … [Read more...]

Powerline Prizes for Better and Worse

Lots of good songs showing up in Powerline's artful debt-ceiling contest. I, like many others, enjoyed this punk rock anthem, "You're Gonna Pay":+ + + + + + + I am much less taken with the exceedingly popular ditty "Don't You See", not so much for any flaw in the song -- it's nice enough; it has a good beat, and the kid singing it has a voice that's pure and true -- but I always get creeped-out when children are used to deliver political messages. Let's be consistent, here, … [Read more...]

Desire and "The Booth at the End"

I had not heard of this new online series from Hulu, until I read Joseph Susanka's piece -- but what a fascinating premise!The series' premise is startlingly simple: the Man (Xander Berkeley) sits in a booth at Cadillac Jack's Driver-In and waits. People—convinced that he can "get things" for those who want them badly enough—visit his booth, and he makes a bargain with each of them: if they complete the task he assigns, they will get what they so desperately desire.But his bargains are harsh … [Read more...]

Smokin' Hot Brandon MacFarlane

When Michael Jackson was about 11 years old, he recorded a staggeringly mature, prodigiously musical vocal of Who's Loving You? and I thought I'd never hear another kid who could open up and sing with that sort of soul-stirring freedom.Then I heard my son Buster blasting this from across the house. I thought he'd been listening to one of his favorite gospel singers, and I assumed this was a much older artist. Wow. Right up there with what Jackson managed -- he is completely at ease, … [Read more...]

Thoughtful pieces on Casey, Caylee, Corapi, Idols

Emails are coming in reporting a state of high tension on various Corapian threads, in anticipation of the Black Sheepdog's "very special announcement" which is promised today.You gotta give the Dog credit; he knows how to play to an audience and build up the suspense. I'm finding it kind of sad (and troubling) that so many people have made this one man such a huge part of their lives of faith.And I am troubled, too, by our society's seemingly endless appetite for high-drama and … [Read more...]

Bartoli: Ave Maria – Sposa son disprezzata

Bartoli is perhaps the most masterful vocal technician of the modern era. Not the biggest voice, not the creamiest, but my goodness, what staggering control, what flawless ownership she takes of the music. Catch the Ave Maria at .38; do you know how difficult it is to hit that note with sweetness and restraint? It's much easier to belt it out than to coddle it so gently. Awesome. … [Read more...]

Missing Peter Falk

I knew that Peter Falk was an actor who often improvised, as his often powerful work with John Cassavetes attests, but I was still surprised to learn, first, that Falk was in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire and second, that Falk largely improvised his role.Joseph Susanka discusses it all, hereFor me, however, the single most thought-provoking performance of his long and highlight-laden career will always be "Der Filmstar," from Wim Wenders' ethereal meditation, Wings of Desire (Der Himmel … [Read more...]

The Great, Holy Mr. Rogers

Oh, I needed to read this wonderful piece on Fred Rogers today!As for the agenda of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood", it was deeply resonant with the agenda God offers us as co-creators of our life and world, and with the comfort of being held in good hands. First and always was the affirmation of unconditional love: "I like you just the way you are" is what every child heard from Fred every single day. That's a message any of us would welcome hearing ourselves.Some parents, however, … [Read more...]

Conan O' Brien's Brilliant Commencement Address

Conan O' Brien gave the commencement address at Dartmouth college, and it is longer than usual, but stick with it for the sheer entertainment value. At about the 18 minute mark, O'Brien gets serious and personal, and the speech goes from enjoyable to sublime. Discussing his professional journey and its disappointments, he says: "There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized."You can tell he means it; between quips, he speaks passionately and with … [Read more...]

Textbook-Free Campus; Fact-Free History, No Jobs

I have issues with textbook-free campuses, and so, it appears, does Jesse Jackson, Jr.And some of our issues are the same. I too have wondered what happens to all the publishing houses, all the paper producers, the raw-material-providers, all the book binders, all the designers, all the office-workers, all the shipping and trucking jobs that disappear if campuses become "textbook free."I am also concerned about what happens to our understanding of the past -- or even our present -- when … [Read more...]