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About Bryan J.

Be of good cheer, little pup, for thou too in resurrection shall have a little golden tail. ~Martin Luther @revdeaconb

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    Lance Armstrong's Moving Finish Line

    Lance Armstrong’s Moving Finish Line

    Where were you in 2012 when Lance Armstrong confessed his steroid sins to St. Oprah? Did you immediately take off your 2004 (!) Livestrong wristband and trash it, or did you simply let it fall behind the bedroom dresser? Was it the talk of your town, or did it just confirm your lack of interest […]

    Another Week Ends: Forgiving Kings, Forgiving Narcissists, Polite Smart Speakers, Religious Parties, and the Saddest Croatian

    Another Week Ends: Forgiving Kings, Forgiving Narcissists, Polite Smart Speakers, Religious Parties, and the Saddest Croatian

    1. They say never talk religion and politics, so let’s increase the trespass and start our time this week with a discussion of religion and politics. Michele Margolis is a U Penn political science professor who specializes in the link between faith and government. She makes the case that we’ve got the chicken and egg […]

    Another Week Ends: Prophetic Marshmallows, Honest Obituaries, Psychopathic AI, A Game for Good Christians, and the Bruised Face of Forgiveness

    Another Week Ends: Prophetic Marshmallows, Honest Obituaries, Psychopathic AI, A Game for Good Christians, and the Bruised Face of Forgiveness

    1. This week, a social science story takes the lede. New research out of NYU and UC Irvine is casting real doubt on the hallowed Stanford Marshmallow experiment, a study long used to tout the virtues of delayed gratification, patience, and self-control: The marshmallow test is one of the most famous pieces of social-science research: […]

    The Easter Effect, Dolly Parton, and a Specific Kind of Jesus

    The Easter Effect, Dolly Parton, and a Specific Kind of Jesus

    Happy Easter! By now, the ham leftovers should be about finished, the bonnets returned to their boxes, and the elusive eggs left unfound on Sunday are easily discovered by following the faint smell of sulfur. Clergy are just about recovered from the multiple services of Holy Week. And for those of us from liturgical traditions, […]

    Mr. Rogers on the Root of Everything

    Mr. Rogers on the Root of Everything

    It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! The official trailer dropped this week for the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, due this June. “Love is at the root of everything—all learning, all relationships—love, or the lack of it,” says Fred into the camera, meaning we’d better bring a box of tissues to […]

    Altered Carbon and Why We Hate Our Bodies

    Altered Carbon and Why We Hate Our Bodies

    A quick note: Altered Carbon is a show with real theological insight, but the road to those insights is marked by lots of nudity and violence. It’s as bad or even worse than Game of Thrones or Westworld. Even though a hard-R rating applies, the sex and violence is a part of the show’s Flannery O’Connor style […]

    Jet Ski Carrots and Oscar Night Incentives

    Jet Ski Carrots and Oscar Night Incentives

    Of the Mbird readership who watched the Oscars last year, about one-fifth of us decided not to watch them this year. So say the Nielsen numbers, anyway, which showed a 19% decline in the show’s broadcast over previous years. I like to think that’s because of the growing popularity of Sunday evening church services, but […]

    I, Tonya Justifies the '90s

    I, Tonya Justifies the ’90s

    Where were you in 1994 when Nancy Kerrigan took the famous billy club to the knee? Can you believe that event took place nearly a quarter century ago? It’s one of those strange decade-defining events that’s lasted in our minds alongside the Milli Vanilli lip syncing scandal of 1990, the Clinton affair scandal of 1998, or […]

    The Last Jedi's Last Rites: The Weight of Failure in Star Wars

    The Last Jedi‘s Last Rites: The Weight of Failure in Star Wars

    It’s really tempting to dismiss December’s new Star Wars movie premiere tradition as the same-old same-old. Three years into this new chapter, and one worries the franchise is falling into the same pattern as the Marvel movies we all have trouble keeping up with. Good guys, bad guys, heroes, villains, you’d be forgiven for writing […]

    Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 2)

    Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 2)

    Too long for one post, we’re looking at the advent of the “sadcom,” a unique TV comedy developed over recent years. Sadcoms are shows that find humor in the debauched and dysfunctional lives of lead characters, punctuating that wildness with sincere moments of sympathy. For a longer breakdown, check out part 1, with a review […]

    An Obituary from Beyond the Grave

    An Obituary from Beyond the Grave

    With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to remember the sobering reality that death comes for us all. Hooray! That’s the case for many as the streets fill up with ghosts, ghouls and zombies, though that certainly isn’t the case universally. In my neighborhood, the ghosts and ghouls are generally […]

    Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 1)

    Portal Guns, Talking Horses, and the Future of TV Comedy (Part 1)

    On the TV front, two new seasons of Mockingbird favorites are now out for your viewing pleasure. Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty just finished its third season, with Nielsen knighting it the most popular comedy on television, and Bojack Horseman’s fourth season is now available for binging on Netflix. Both shows are regulars in our […]