When a Wedding Guide Leaves Out The Wedding Night

I'm at First Things, covering the unexpected gap I've found in the wedding planning books I've been reading. I became engaged at Easter, and, as I’ve started planning our wedding with my fiancé, I’ve noticed a suspicious lacuna in the wedding how-to's I’ve picked up. I would have thought, after one magazine’s handbook covered strategies for getting your pet turtle to join your wedding procession (they won’t walk down the aisle quickly enough, so you must tow its tank in a tulle-swathed wagon), t … [Read more...]

Fighting Weaponized Acedia

Commonweal has my double review of Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire by R.J. Snell and Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll.  Why review those two book alongside each other? I'm so glad that you asked. Slots, video poker, and other gambling machines are often described as games, but Schüll’s description makes it clear how completely play is lacking from these terminals. Some machines allow gamblers to “autoplay”: they simp … [Read more...]

I’m Speaking in NYC on Fights and Statistics

I have two speaking gigs coming up in New York City, if you're in town or have friends who are interested in arguments, statistics or both!  Theology on Tap: "Fighting in Good Faith" April 11, 7:30p121 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036How to avoid "agreeing to disagree" while still engaging with curiosity and love.  World Communications Day: "Counting Catholics: A Guide to Telling the Truth With Statistics" May 11, 2:10p333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201Making … [Read more...]

Engagement, A Bibliography

On Easter Sunday, my boyfriend proposed to me at Belvedere Castle in Central Park.And I feel the best way to invite you all into my joy is to share the bibliography of our courtship -- the favorite books we asked each other to read, the books we read for the first time together, the books it turned out we had both already loved. A Sense of Direction by William BallA Severe Mercy by Sheldon VanaukenArcadia by Tom StoppardBed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by … [Read more...]

Dwelling In Wounds To Hide From Grace

I really enjoyed seeing a broadcast of Kenneth Brannagh's The Winter's Tale (and, if the taped version becomes more widely available, I highly recommend it). I'd only seen it once before, and one thing that changed for me when I saw this new one was that I couldn't simply see Paulina as a pure heroine anymore.In The Winter's Tale, the king falsely believes his wife to be unfaithful, and he hounds her (he thinks) to death and orders her infant exposed to the elements. Paulina is the one who … [Read more...]

7QT: The Peculiar Virtues of Daredevil, Pool Table Mechanics, and Silly Names

--- 1 --- I didn't even know that there existed pay-to-play pool tables, but I was really happy to watch this short video on how the machinery inside manages to return the cue ball to you when you sink it, but divert all the other balls to a locked chamber, waiting for the next game.--- 2 --- Ngozi of Check, Please! (a hockey-and-friendship comic) has an explainer on how she learned to draw fingers that's a lot less complex than the magnetized pool table. --- 3 --- And when it comes to … [Read more...]

7QT: Making swords, long eggs, and “curatorially unsound” decisions

--- 1 --- I already loved A Capella Science's "Outbound Probe" and now I've been dancing around to "LIGO Feel That Space," a relyricization of "I Can't Feel My Face" that's about the discovery of gravitational waves.--- 2 --- I love nerdy fandoms, but I'm still snickering a little bit at the fact that the shirt that Colin Firth wore in Pride and Prejudice is coming to the Folger Shakespeare Library for an exhibit.  But it's worth it if only to read this suggestion for the proper way to d … [Read more...]