Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on YouTube!

Le sigh.

“By the mid-’80s, at a meeting of the New York Society of Film Critics, [Pauline] Kael leaned over to Richard Schickel and whispered, sadly, ‘It isn’t any fun anymore.’

‘Why do you say that?’

‘Remember how it was in the ’60s and ’70s, when movies were hot, when we were hot? Movies seemed to matter.'”

— Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, by Peter Biskind

“And the Darkness Did Not Comprehend It”

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An early December story in The Hollywood Reporter recounts the first time that Hollywood actress Meryl Streep and legendary director Steven Spielberg met. “Most of the time,” Streep recalled in the December 5 story by Peter Galloway, she and Spielberg “talked about how his property was haunted and did I know anybody who did exorcisms? And of course, I did. I got him a priest.”

This comment from a member of the Hollywood community might come as a surprise to some people. After all, Streep works for the same business that produced a legion of movies about the devil—from Rosemary’s Baby to The Omen to The Exorcist—all in one way giving the devil more than his due by sensationalizing evil. Sure, images of devil and hellfire help maximize ticket sales—but do people in Hollywood actually believe all this Satan stuff?

While it’s not clear from The Hollywood Reporter story whether the famed director rid his house of the suspected evil, it is clear that even those who make fantasies for a living accept that the devil is real and that when he shows up on its doorstep, even the world of make-believe knows there’s only one place to turn: the Catholic Church.

Perhaps implicit in Streep’s recommendation to Spielberg is an understanding that believer and non-believer alike acknowledge, grudgingly or not—that the Catholic Church alone offers a direct, no-nonsense and effective solution to demonic affliction…

READ THE REST HERE

Okay.

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So The Shape of Water (my review, for what it’s worth, is here) got a whole bunch of Oscar nominations. I’m gonna use that as my spur for writing Volume Two of Lives of Famous Catholics. See if I can get it done in time for the ceremony in early March. No title yet, but my subject is director Guillermo Del Toro. I know, I know — another film director? But I can’t help myself. For what it’s worth, I still hope to finish Gaga Confidential, perhaps pegged to the release of A Star is Born later this year. I have plans for the other four entries that will make up the eventual seven-story book, but there’s no sense in getting ahead of myself. Let’s see if I can do one.

Wow.

I almost think the opening scene of Nocturnal Animals is there to scare the moralists away via aesthetic assault. (It also serves a narrative/thematic function, sure, but…) Because after that, it plays out with the blunt trauma moral force of a Flannery O’Connor story, only without the promise of grace. Maybe it was the tequila watching, but I liked it a lot.

Jumping Jupiter! It’s the art of Father Peter Gray!

Father Peter Gray is probably one of the most prolific artists working at an easel today. But with thousands of paintings to his name, many of them portraits of saints and popes, Father Peter hasn’t withdrawn from the world to set up shop in a Bohemian loft or an artist’s retreat with an open-air studio. Rather, when he’s not up to his elbows in ochre, mauve and indigo, he’s engaging the world head-on, walking the mean streets of Baltimore, inviting homeless men to share a home with him, and supporting these men with the money he makes through his art even as he helps them get back on their feet and reintegrated into society.

Raise a glass and sit and stare…Appreciate the man:

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By the buy, the good padre also does abstracts.

Race Relations in Seattle

So I’m waiting for my ride at 5th and Jackson, when my bus driver friend Gary (older black gentleman, very nice, but very formal) drives up in the #14. A lady with tattoos on her face staggers towards the bus as I’m talking to him, so I step back to let her on, rolling my eyes to let Gary know he’s got a real winner coming on board. She’s just trashed, and being Caucasian, I guess that makes her White Trash (in this part of town, it’s probably 50/50 odds the inebriated person is black or white. The Asians are rarely wasted, or they never show it, and I won’t even mention the Native Americans).

Anyway, after the drunk Caucasian lady stumbles past Gary, he looks at me and says, “That’s one of your people, Finnegan.” Then he closes the door and drives on up Jackson.

Maybe you’d need to know Gary, but it was funny as hell.

Now, if our roles were reversed, could I say the same thing, and would it be funny? Obviously no, and I think it could be justifiably considered a racist comment. Doesn’t that mean that Gary’s comment is racist as well? What’s fair (or unfair) for someone on the basis of race must be fair or unfair for someone of a different race, right?

Only if you’re an idiot. The manner in which people of different races, especially blacks and whites, view one another has a long history in this country, and ignoring it, or trying to ignore it, turns us into fools. People are different. We treat different people differently, and that’s just the way it is.

No, it doesn’t mean racism is a laughing matter. Neither, in most or at least many circumstances, are drunkenness and tattooed faces. And I’m not sure how well this story would play in front of a crowd, told by a comedian. In fact, this seems like a pretty good illustration of the difference between what’s funny for professional comedians, and what it means to have a sense of humor in the midst of whatever life happens to throw at you. The former can be enjoyable, but the latter is necessary so that life doesn’t become unbearable.

from the Seattle Transit Blotter

2014.09.20 17:35 Route #13 Third & Bell, Northbound

A couple in their mid to late 40s board the bus. Both are slender, fit, well dressed and in reasonably good spirits. Not at all down and out. He says, “for both of us,” and tries to feed a five dollar bill into the fare box, which the fare box refuses to accept.

Looking on, she says, “Must be one of them bills you got at a strip club!”

The bill is in fact the color of boiled spinach, a fairly sodden greenback that has lost any stiffness it once had, even as he pushes it forward.

“Yeah, right, when I was picking you up from work.”

“Phhh!” she says, rolling her eyes. “I wish!”

From the Korrektiv HR Dept.

bus sg

Wisconglish for “Mass Transit System Career Opportunities – Now Hiring!”

Jobe?

Webb?

Lucrative Perks…the parking lot in which the vehicle is located belongs to a newly opened microbrewery…Sunshine more than three days a year (even when it’s 40 degrees below zero!)… and, as always, unique camping experiences.

Follow-up to previous day’s post

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From Day by Day by Robert Lowell (probably Jeb O’Brian’s favorite poet).

NB: A first edition of this book was located in Dauphine Street Books in the French Quarter, a good place to ride the train to if you have the chance.

The Day

Let the day’s trouble be sufficient unto the day.

Also: Give us this day our daily bread.

Further: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Addendum: Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Be reconciled while it is light.

Appendix 1: The parable of the laborers.

Appendix 2: Choose ye this day whom you will serve.

Appendix 3: Walk while it is light.

Appendix 4: Carry your cross every day.

Appendix 6: Day by day, O dear Lord, three things I pray.

Appendix 7: One day at a time.

The Jewish Cardinal

The-Jewish-Cardinal-0001.showcase_3Oh, look – a film in which religion is taken seriously. In particular, the way that religion influences a person’s identity, and the way experience influences religion. It’s full of the kind of ecumenical politicking that gives JOB gallstones, but other than that, it’s outstanding Catholic Family Viewing. Very fine performances, especially Aurelien Recoing as John Paul II.

The End of an Era

Jonathan Potter hosted his last Naked Lunch Break at the Riverpoint Campus of Eastern Washington University.

I’ll see your Pope on the cover of Rolling Stone

francis-de-sales-1-sized

…and raise you St. Francis De Sales over at Paris Review Daily:

In fact, hell has a way of rearing its infernal head at awkward moments throughout the Devout Life, perhaps as in life itself. Here’s a bit from “Balls, and Other Lawful But Dangerous Amusements,” which doesn’t mean what you think it does:

“Balls and similar gatherings are wont to attract all that is bad and vicious; all the quarrels, envyings, slanders, and indiscreet tendencies of a place will be found collected in the ballroom. While people’s bodily pores are opened by the exercise of dancing, the heart’s pores will be also opened by excitement … while you were dancing, souls were groaning in hell by reason of sins committed when similarly occupied, or in consequence thereof.”

Buzzkill, Francis! Not all his advice is so starchy, though. In “We Must Attend to the Business of Life Carefully, But Without Eagerness or Over-Anxiety,” he writes, “Imitate a little child, whom one sees holding tight with one hand to its father, while with the other it gathers strawberries or blackberries from the wayside hedge.” (I do this literally all the time—can’t recommend it highly enough.)

Still, if Francis has really been watching over the Fourth Estate for these many centuries, one imagines he’s pretty disappointed with the profession. After all, journalists and writers are not known for their piety, to put it mildly. Saving Calvinists from perdition no longer moves us to dip our pens.

“Buzzkill, Francis!” is my new “Settle down, Francis.” I do feel a bit sorry for the writer, however – in his rush to smirk, he’s overlooked Francis’s perceptive genius: quarrels, envyings, slanders and indiscreet tendencies on the dance floor form the basis for a great many of today’s more popular poems, the kind that show up on the radio.

Quarrels? Check 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”

When my joint get to pumping in the club, it’s on
I wink my eye at your chick, if she smiles, she gone
If the roof on fire, man, just let it burn
If you talkin’ about money, homie I ain’t concerned
I’mma tell you what Banks told me Cuz, go ahead, switch the style up
If they hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up
Or we can go upside your head with a bottle of bub’

Envyings? The list is endless, since the club seems to be as much about establishing status as anything else, but let’s take this very basic example from Will i. Am’s “Scream & Shout”

Everybody in the club
All eyes on us
All eyes on us
All eyes on us

Slanders? Back to 50 Cent and “Get Out Da Club”

Bitch you think you high class you ain’t worth a third of a nigga
Ya man is gangsta but we ain’t never heard of the nigga

And hoo boy, indiscreet tendencies. I’m gonna use this bit from Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor,” since it actually mentions sweat, and Francis mentioned the open pores brought on by dancing…

That badonka donk is like a trunk full of bass on an old school Chevy
Seven tray donkey donk
All I need is some vodka and some coke
And watch, she going to get donkey konged
Baby if you’re ready for things to get heavy
I get on the floor and act a fool if you let me
Dale
Don’t believe me just bet me
My name isn’t Keith but I see why you Sweat me
L.A. Miami New York
Say no more get on the floor

The poor devil also seems to misunderstand what it means for a saint to be the patron of this or that profession. Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I always thought it had more to do with the excellent execution of the work than the piety of the worker. As long as we still dip our pens in the service of truth, I’m pretty sure Francis has to be pleased.

Still.

True Confessions from Real Librarians

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And this is just the tip of the iceberg … can’t help but wonder if one of the people hiding behind these signs is the librarian among us.

The Day Job

I am an academic health sciences librarian. I have tenure. Thus I can get away with hosting a lunchtime literary open mic for three months out of the year under the guise of library outreach. If you’re in Spokane on a Thursday, come check it out! Free pizza!

NLB 2013

Catalog Living (and Dying)

Apparently, Gary and Elaine are getting a little dark for 2013.

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 6.30.46 PM

“Oh, stop squirming, Elaine. That lamp was no one we know.”

[Just saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time – on YouTube! The bone-heavy, hand-made decor of the Sawyer home was a huge part of the film’s power.]

Mel Gibson’s Sunset Boulevard?

Mel Gibson’s Sunset Boulevard.

The sun goes down on Twilight.

I never dreamed, back when I got to review the first, that I’d also get to review the last.

Also, during the closing credits of the screening I attended, various folks whooped and screamed for various cast members. But nobody whooped for this guy, poor fella:

So I did.