February 12, 2019

Fox Searchlight on Tuesday released the first official trailer from its upcoming film, Tolkien, which hits theatres May 10. It stars Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien and Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, Mr. Tolkien’s wife. I’ve never heard of Ms. Collins, but I liked Mr. Hoult in Warm Bodies (2013), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and especially Dark Places (2015), an underrated adaptation of the novel by Gillian Flynn. Another interesting casting choice is Colm Meaney as Father Francis Morgan, the… Read more

January 20, 2019

NB: I have updated this post because of new information available today. –SPD Want media coverage for the March for Life? You got it. Pro-lifers complain every year about the lack of media coverage for the March for Life. That’s not true, as Deacon Greg Kandra writes here. Still, victimhood is everything for the pro-life movement. And the line still resonates inside their bubble, so they still use it. This year, however, they’re getting more media coverage than they ever… Read more

January 10, 2019

In late January, 2009, I made a retreat at Opus Dei’s Shellbourne Conference Center, outside of Valparaiso, Indiana. This was a supernumerary-only retreat (I was still in Opus Dei then) and, being in a dark place at the time, I needed the extra intensity of a members-only retreat. The priest who lead the retreat reverently celebrated Mass, gave compelling meditations each day, and dispensed expert spiritual advice in confession and in one-on-one spiritual direction outside of confession. His advice to… Read more

December 7, 2018

Holiday season in Illinois means holiday displays at the Illinois State Capitol building, under the rotunda. It’s public property, which means anything is permitted so long as no public funds are used. So while we have a Christmas tree and nativity set for Christmas, and a Menorah for Hanukkah, we’ve also had a Festivus pole and, in 2015, a gay pride Festivus pole. No Festivus poles this year, though. No, instead of one of those, the 2018 holiday displays under… Read more

December 3, 2018

G.K. Chesterton wrote beautifully of Christmas, both in poetry, such as “The Christ-Child in Mary’s Lap,” and especially my favorite, his “Christmas Poem,” which gets to the heart of the paradox of Christmas: There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; In the place where she was homeless All men are at home.” But my favorite is his meditation on the Nativity, “The God in the Cave,” from The Everlasting Man. This is Chesterton at his… Read more

November 14, 2018

The Christmas pudding is the crown of the Christmas feast. It has no equal. Before the pudding, the beef bows and the turkey trembles. Even a robust cabernet may hesitate before taking the pudding in its warm embrace, though their kiss is the signal for fireworks, joy, and mayhem. I made my first Christmas pudding six years ago, and I have made one every year since. The pudding ripening in my basement right now is one I made last year,… Read more

November 4, 2018

The week of October 22, as I wrote here, one of President Trump’s supporters mailed pipe bombs to critics of the president, including CNN. This past Friday, because the president seems pathologically incapable of uniting the country behind any cause or ideal, no matter how noble, Mr. Trump told reporters, to their faces, “You know what, you’re creating violence by your questions.” Lest anyone not get what the president really meant, he followed up with a thinly veiled dog whistle… Read more

October 30, 2018

America: terror nation. After last week, the week of October 22, twenty-one months into the Trump administration, it seems that that is what we have become. The week started with a pipe bomb discovered in the mailbox of billionaire George Soros. As the week progressed, more pipe bombs were found in mail intended for Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, other liberal Democrat politicians, and CNN. Wednesday, two African Americans, Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones, were shot and killed in… Read more

October 24, 2018

Fear is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway. –The Haunting of Hill House I have now watched director Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House all the way through twice. I may watch it a third time. The attraction is hard to describe. It’s good horror. It’s a good story. It’s a good horror story. It has that mysterious spark of magic that… Read more

September 22, 2018

I nearly forgot to wish everyone a Happy Hobbit Day. Hobbit Day is September 22, the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. In the book, Bilbo celebrates his eleventy-first birthday and Frodo his thirty-third, the day hobbits come of age. How to celebrate? First, go barefoot. If you have hair on your toes, all the better. Give presents to others (hobbits give away presents on their birthdays). Also, get together with friends… Read more

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