Archives for June 2006

Beer Joke of the Month

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl – philosopher’s Song

Unfortunately there’s no mention of our man Søren — “whose words he was always a-slurrin'” — and who could put a frothy beer to quite a philosophical turn when the mood took ‘im.

[On referral from our new friend, angelmeg.]

The Kids Are Alright…

…and besides, they asked so nicely. I was honored by the request.

The latest issue of Dappled Things (“The Catholic literary magazine for young scholars and the young at heart”) is up, and it seems that I went and gave ’em an essay and a short story, ripped from the unpublished pages of Book Two. An advance advance excerpt, if you will.

These folks limit their contributors to the under-35 set, which makes me something of an elder statesman – hoo! But seriously – I’d love to see the thing succeed. The notion of young Catholics interested in art sounds good to me. So I tossed my ante in. We’ll see what comes. If you wander over and read, I do hope you enjoy.

Last Keillor post…

…really. I promise. I’m sure you’re all pretty tired of these.

But it strikes me, upon reading these various suggestions that Keillor’s heart is with the urban elite, that his sensibility has fled his small-town roots and mores, that certain particulars give the lie to this notion. I’ve got a lot of Prairie Home Companions on tape – a neighbor used to tape them, or at least The News from Lake Wobegon. And there’s one bit that has stayed with me especially well, though not so well that I can recall it verbatim.

Keillor was broadcasting from New York at the time, and he spoke (his tone dripping with derision) about a New York performance artist who was ruminating on The End of Civilization. Later in the episode, he discussed a husband and wife, sitting at the kitchen table before the sun came up, drinking coffee and putting life back in order after the previous day’s chaos. He said something like, “These people don’t talk about the end of civilization. For these people” – i.e. parents – “civilization is a job.” The audience thundered its approval. It was a great line, and hardly the notion of the urban elite: civilization is the passing on of a tradition, a heritage, a culture. You can sit by the wall and predict its end, or you can roll up your sleeves and keep it going.

The Pickle Syndrome

Caution: link includes extremely disturbing images.

I wanted to make my first post at Korrektiv to be something significant. Something heavy, that would really help make a big splash. Perhaps a quotation from Heidegger, or Kierkegaard, or maybe von Balthasaar, whose Christian and Anxiety I’ve been reading as, yes, a korrektiv to all that Kierkegaard.

Then I stumbled upon this. And I’ve had to ask myself: how would Dr. Tom More have handled this? Would even the lapsometer have worked? And what could Father Smith possibly say?

The Jesus Year

Johnny Depp, playing notoriously, gloriously bad director Ed Wood, lay abed with his girlfriend and fretted that Orson Welles had made Citizen Kane at the tender age of 26 – while he, Wood, was already 30. But by 33, Jesus (who is, after all, supposed to be my exemplar) had redeemed humanity and opened the gates of heaven. I need to get on the stick. Mortality ain’t just a nine-letter word.

“I am a member of a generation of Catholics raised after Vatican II who was cheated out of a Catholic education.”

Waugh’s Mr. Joyboy would be proud, I think.*

Friend of Godsbody (FOG – how appropriate) Aunt Smokee passes along this amazing innovation in the memorial business.

“Our urns are so soft and cuddly that it makes you want to hug them. It’s nice to
know that your loved one’s final resting place is in one of these Huggable Urns
and always around you ready to hug when ever you feel the need.”

*Mr. Joyboy provided courtesy of The Loved One.

Our Lady of Las Vegas

…is where my Goddaughter was baptized. Fascinating church, combining as it does elements from so many different styles (not that I’m any sort of expert). Fra Angelico. A style I have come to think of as classic ’50s American Catholic. Celtic? Iconography. Mission (the ceiling). Art Deco. ’70s stained-glass (post Vatican II trippy color panels, but still holding onto tradition a little bit with the faces). More iconography, this time with a more Russian tinge? Gothic (the lamps) and Roman (the pillars).

The Delta Factor* Revisited

Learning to Read

* Cf. this.

Off to Vegas

I’m thinking I’m gonna take the kids’ college fund and double it. I’ll bring ’em along for good luck. While I’m there, I’ll become Godfather to The Wife’s cousin’s new little one. Then I’ll come home, possibly late, late, Sunday night, smelling of money. Toodles!

"Let’s Bury Paul"/"Cranberry Sauce."

Pardon the olde-timey Beatles reference of the title, but I’d like to take the occasion to start my own brand of Paul-is-dead rumorbuzz: Where’s Strongbad?. It’s now been over a month since the Brothers Chaps gave us anything new, which in Internet years is roughly three millenia. There’s a limit to how long we can hang at The Institute of Official Cheer, killing time and thinkin’ ’bout the King of Town. Okay, maybe that’s not true.

"I’m not even a chef any more, and it breaks my heart."

That’s Thomas Keller talking in Michael Ruhlman’s The Reach of a Chef. The New York Observer gives an excellent review of a book that tries to grapple with the arrival of celebrity to the culinary world.

“Even Thomas Keller, whose restaurant the French Laundry helped revolutionize American cuisine, has changed tracks. Mr. Keller, Mr. Ruhlman’s hero and collaborator (they’ve written two cookbooks together) and a living saint if there ever was one, left the Napa Valley for Las Vegas, New York and the ambiguous commercial world, lending his name to signature lines of knives and porcelain. ‘The chef has left the kitchen,’ Mr. Ruhlman says. What he really means is that the priest has left the altar.”


Homiletic and Pastoral Review (more specifically, Adam DeVille) gave my book a very kind review, for which I am deeply grateful.

My Tallahassee Purgatory

…is another personal essay over at Godspy worth checking. And it includes a description of the Godsbody family parish!

“Our Lady of the Rosary was a good antidote for that. OLR, as the parishioners call it, is a small Catholic church nestled in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy. It’s one of those churches that make you look up, literally. Above the altar, across the entire front wall is a painting of the Crucifixion. At the back of the church, along the opposite wall is the Final Judgment. High above on each side wall, the apostles and evangelists keep watch from their perch, and if you are bold enough to arch your head straight back and look up at the ceiling, you will be greeted by scenes from the various mysteries of the rosary. Only the hardest of hearts could gaze at the Crucifixion scene above the altar and not be pierced with sorrow. Only the proudest could look at the scene of the Final Judgment and not say, ‘I am dust.'”


Thanks to our new friend, The Ironic Catholic, for this.

And while you’re there, be sure to check out Dance, Catholic, Dance and Attendees at Flannery O’Connor Conference Meet Dire End.

About that Keillor Bio…

Sam Anderson takes a stab at the Keillor psyche:

“It may be that Keillor is so allergic to Henri-Lévy’s love of paradox because, though he’d never acknowledge it, his own public image is deeply paradoxical. He’s a cosmopolitan provincial (he’s lived in Copenhagen and owns a multimillion-dollar apartment on Central Park West) and a sophisticated simpleton (a plainspoken yarn-spinner who just happens to write world-class prose). Once you start thinking about this—once Keillor’s trademark simplicity begins to look complicated and unnatural—the paradoxes start tumbling out like herrings out of the pickle-barrel: His plainness seems pretentious, his anti-bombast bombastic, his anti-snobbery snobbish. This sense of affectation is why some people instinctively dislike such a likable entertainer.”

This is the fascinating thing about Keillor – he was a small-town boy who yearned to write for the sophisticated, big-city New Yorker. And he made it – but he made it by bringing the small town with him to the big city. He’s at his best when he draws from that small-town ethos and sensibility – but there’s always a measure of self-consciousness about it. The artist’s distance?

Glad also to see that Anderson noticed that Keillor knows how to write. The Book of Guys has some bits that are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

Why does this make us so happy?

The Coreys, reunited at last.

I don’t know why this should matter to me – I never even saw the films Mr. Defamer mentions. But what I did see, several times, was The Lost Boys, aka, the film that made a generation think Kiefer Sutherland was cool, twenty years before 24. I remember Haim and Feldman as the perfect comic relief for the sizzling homoerotic tension between seductive vampire Sutherland and tortured Jason Patric.

(And if anyone takes that bit about “homoerotic tension” seriously – well, it’s your own fault.)

Today in Porn, Catholic Edition

Porn and the Sacred Heart, a personal essay at Godspy. Worth reading, I think. Do go take a look:

“It’s been eight months since I made love to my wife. Eight months since the birth of our daughter. Sometimes there are tears of frustration. Sometimes, I take secret pleasure in a sexual purity that I haven’t known since the fifth grade. The stains of my sexual brokenness, that I thought had been cleansed by marriage, can’t hide any longer behind the sloth of a satisfied husband in bed. I lay awake at night hoping that this celibacy is not permanent, but that the chastity—my own properly ordered sexuality—might be. This isn’t purity based on unknowing, as if my mind could somehow regain the innocence of my prepubescent past. Rather, it’s the purity that comes when you admit there are some corners of the devil’s hell you still find overwhelming erotic, but still, once more, you decide to look away.”