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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    Pimp My Whitewashed Tomb

    Pimp My Whitewashed Tomb

    Not the actual car- it wasn’t nearly this bad.

    The family car was involved in a hit and run last week. Police are still looking for the woman in the red van who sped off, the insurance company is working with us to get the car restored, and we’ve made the appointment with the body shop to get it all fixed. Duct tape has been deployed to keep various automotive parts in place. Can I confess to you that the car is a 2006 PT Cruiser? We’ve affectionately nicknamed it The PT Loser for being a mechanically challenged money-pit. Between…

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    Mining Netflix: Performancism and The School of Rock

    Mining Netflix: Performancism and The School of Rock

    Did you watch the Golden Globes on Sunday? One of the biggest stories from this year was the accolades given to Boyhood, an epic-of-the-ordinary that took 12 years to film. We wrote about Boyhood back when it came out, and if you read that post you’ll get a sense of why its director, Richard Linklater, won top honors on Sunday. Oddly enough, though, as Linklater was bestowed his award, my twitter feed was not filled with applause for Boyhood, but for another project of his: 2003’s School of Rock.

    Why in the world would School of Rock be so well remembered over a…

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    …and Auld Lang Syne! What We Missed in 2014

    …and Auld Lang Syne! What We Missed in 2014

    So much content, so little time! Even with all the contributors and weekenders, stories slip through the cracks all year long. Here’s a bunch of stories that would have been great to explore if there were more than 365 days to write. A special thanks to our Twitter followers for your help putting this list together–always feel free to share your finds with us at @mockingbirdnyc! Without further adieu, here’s a sample of what we missed:

    Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall I refill my brother’s appetizer plate at TGI Fridays? Up to seven times?” Jesus…

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    Idols of Nostalgia and the Downfall of Doc Huxtable

    Idols of Nostalgia and the Downfall of Doc Huxtable

    It’s hard to cross the Internet these days without reading an update on Bill Cosby’s falling star. As of this writing, a planned NBC comeback sitcom has been cancelled, and other new initiatives (like an ill-conceived social media meme push) have been met with anger and sarcasm. Perhaps most salient: TV Land has quietly stopped airing reruns of The Cosby Show, the sitcom that rocketed Bill Cosby to the national spotlight in the 80s. I missed the golden years of Dr. Huxtable and clan on The Cosby Show, so I’ve been discovering in tandem the tremendous legacy of hope that was Cosby’s acting work…

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    A Conference Week Ends: Lila, Marshmallows, the Human Condition, and Epistomological Courage

    A Conference Week Ends: Lila, Marshmallows, the Human Condition, and Epistomological Courage

    1. Lots of interesting news on the how-can-we-be-sure-God-exists front. We’ve had our own part of that conversation, highlighting our own favorite Atheists and the hip trend of flogging Dawkins (dibs on Flogging Dawkins as a band name!). If the patterns are to be believed, it seems that the trajectory is toward a more humble, less aggressive atheism that acknowledges its own non-rational presuppositions. And humility is good for everybody, theist and atheist alike. Gary Gutting over at the New York Times sums up his series of interviews with religious philosophers, and while the ending seems disjointed (I’m an agnostic Catholic?), the middle is helpful:

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    The Apple Isn’t the Only Biblical Reference: 50 Years of The Giving Tree

    The Apple Isn’t the Only Biblical Reference: 50 Years of The Giving Tree

    Did you read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree as a child? Do you remember how it made you feel? The children’s book turns 50 this year, so theoretically, a few generations have had their chance to soak in the bittersweet melancholy of Silverstein’s prose. Acknowledging the anniversary, The Giving Tree was featured in this week’s Bookends column of The New York Times, which invited two contributors to reflect on the book’s history and meaning [ht DJ via Twitter]. That’s no surprise, of course–the book is well loved and continues to be a children’s classic. But what I was shocked to discover (maybe…

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    I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

    I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

    Long time readers of the blog will know the world of alcohol is one of life’s laboratories where our favorite theological themes are examined. Lord knows we’ve written a book’s worth of material on the subject of alcoholism, addiction, and the wisdom found in the world of recovery. Along with the very real and widespread issue of dependency, the bar scene is another petri dish where some of the most widespread identity-crafting techniques are employed. Chief among the questions of identity: what should I drink, and what will my order say about me.

    For craft beer fans, the question of drink and identity is a…

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    The Courage to Be “Weird”

    The Courage to Be “Weird”

    The internet got a little bit stranger this week with the release of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s newest album, Mandatory Fun. For close to 40 years now, Weird Al has embraced everything counterculture, playfully mocking the earnestness of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, and 10’s versions of “cool.” From Michael Jackson to Celine Dion, from Star Wars to the Beverly Hillbillies, there are few pop culture themes and memes that the musical master of parody has left untouched.

    Weird Al predates me. I discovered him as a nerdy elementary schooler at a friend’s sleep-over. All we third and fourth graders howled with laughter,…

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    Misogyny, Works Righteousness, and Nerd Culture

    Misogyny, Works Righteousness, and Nerd Culture

    Another year, another shooting- not to trivialize this heartbreaking matter, of course, but to highlight that the best laid plans have yet to stop the phenomenon. News is continuing to trickle out of UCSB as the school, state, and country return to a place of mourning, and the op-ed sections continue to suggest solutions related to guns or mental health. Churches are returning to their prayers as well with the words “Lord have Mercy” fresh on their minds and hearts.

    The dynamics of this most recent shooting are somewhat unique in that they’ve started an online conversation about nerd culture and…

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    Divine Memory and The Right to Be Forgotten

    Divine Memory and The Right to Be Forgotten

    Whenever I hire my annual student intern, a part of my hiring process is a quick Google search. I’ll be working with this student for the next academic year or so, which is my excuse for scrutinizing the applicant’s web footprint for reasons to hire or not to hire. I’m told that nowadays blind dates operate the same way- a quick Google search is customary to make the date a little less blind. That internet search reveals the good, bad, and ugly: family photos and keg stand photos from college days, angry name calling on twitter and kind birthday wishes…

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    Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

    Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

    They’re calling 2014 “The Year of the Wearable” in the tech world. Love or hate Google glass, it seems as if wearable tech is in the future- if not for us, then perhaps for our kids. Smart watches want to replace your smart phone. Smart wristbands want to track all your steps and exercise movements. Over 100 apps exist to quantify the quality of your sleep. There’s even a tiny camera that you can clip to your shirt pocket that takes photos every five seconds and uploads the photos to your social network of choice. It used to be that…

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    NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

    NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

    Mockingbird has been around since 2008, and the earliest post we have on the subject of Social Media is 2009, in which we studied the phenomenon of getting busted on Facebook for real-life lies.  In the five years since that post, we certainly haven’t lost our fascination with the subject- it’s been one of our favorite hobbies to put the world’s social life under the microscope and view our favorite themes in action. Facebook users (for 10 years now!) are cultivating identities to be liked instead of being honest. Selfies are the new living room portraits, carefully framed to show the…

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