August 9, 2019

There is a non-denominational Protestant church near my house, in the LaBelle neighborhood, and that church is called “Tower of Power.” That’s not its name on Google Maps, for some reason. It’s labeled “La Belle View United Methodist Church” on Google Maps.  But the kiosk out front says “Tower of Power Church: Explosive Services!” I walk past it sometimes if I’ve missed the bus to Kroger and have to walk to the small market on Maryland Avenue. The church is… Read more

August 8, 2019

You’ve no doubt heard about the record-setting ICE raids that took place yesterday: 680 workers were arrested at food processing plants in Mississippi. We’re being told that many of these had no criminal record and had been in the country for a decade or more. They got income tax taken out of their paycheck at the food processing plants. They worked at a job that just about every American needs to stay alive– we all need to eat. Meanwhile, the… Read more

August 5, 2019

I guess it’s time for a flashback to the 90s. Politicians are claiming that video games cause mass shootings again, something I had not heard posited seriously for years and years. And so I have to reiterate what I thought was pretty well established: shoot-em-up video games do not cause mass shootings in real life. I’m not saying there are no ethical issues with a lot of the violence in video games. I tend to place excessive, dehumanizing displays of violence… Read more

August 5, 2019

  It’s been a rough week. There’s plenty of horror going on in the world this weekend, and that provided the backdrop for my state of mind. But there were also far more mundane things going on. I am still having my summer flare, which has me exhausted, anxious and miserable. It’s a hot day in August with no money to spend on the fun activities I don’t have the strength to do anyway– even if there was anything fun… Read more

August 3, 2019

    As I write this, I am waiting for the final body count of the El Paso Wal Mart Shootings. The last I saw, there were forty injured and nineteen dead, and one man in custody. His identity has been confirmed as 21-year-old Patrick Cruisus, and he allegedly left a  white supremacist manifesto. Somehow, the police managed to take him alive and uninjured. I greatly respect people who say we mustn’t share pictures, or say the name, or discuss… Read more

August 3, 2019

  I read an article in The Mighty the other day that made me so sad– and, at the same time, so relieved that other people had been through the same thing, so relived it wasn’t just me. Kelsey Heythere writes about having Inflammatory Bowel Disease and how it eventually makes friends and family leave you. She writes about pacing around the hospital having panic attacks, crying that she wanted her mother, but her mother left. All her friends left…. Read more

August 1, 2019

  Hi gang, This is the monthly post I hate the most, where I remind everyone that Steel Magnificat is a glorified form of busking for tips. I earn a very small paycheck for clicks from Patheos, sometimes as high as three figures, and that paycheck is going to go down now that they’ve made new rules so I don’t get paid for international clicks. Everything else I earn, I earn from gratuities. I have detractors who refer to this… Read more

August 1, 2019

  More than a year ago now, I had a dream. And I don’t think that dream was some kind of vision from God, I think it was my bizarre mind trying to put into pictures what I’d been unable to put into words for years. Saints have visions. People like me dream that we’re trying to go on a tour in Pittsburgh and it keeps not working out. I dreamed I was in Pittsburgh, because people who live in… Read more

July 28, 2019

An alert reader appeared in my messages the other day, with a link to a seedy-looking website of recent purported Marian apparitions taking place in Argyle, Texas. “This made me think of you,” was her entire message. I’ve done a lot of public reminiscence about growing up in Apparition Culture and the Charismatic Renewal– two subcultures of American Catholicism that leave themselves unusually open to crackpots and spiritual abuse. Quite a few people have been wounded by this kind of spiritual abuse, a… Read more

July 26, 2019

It might have been the first act in a terrible ghost story, but it wasn’t. Michael found a cell phone, ringing on top of a snow drift, on a dark cloudy evening. This was a few years ago, when we were far poorer than we are now and living in that nightmare apartment on the worst street in LaBelle. Michael was walking home by himself, down the middle of the deserted street because the snow plows had piled up drifts… Read more

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