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Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) – The Transformation of Tom Brady

Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) – The Transformation of Tom Brady

“Your men love you. If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough” – Prince Edward (to Heath Ledger/William) “A Knights Tale”.

We know a lot about Tom Brady, and there are so many reasons to hate him. He cheated. He is a good friend of of the person most centered in the cross-hairs of the ire of many right now. He’s married to (according to us) the woman who possesses the most robust combination of  wealth and beauty of any woman in the world. That pretty much covers it for many of us. Such a variety of…

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A Story of the Unexpected: “Just What I Wanted” from This American Life

A Story of the Unexpected: “Just What I Wanted” from This American Life

This American Life’s recent Christmas episode, about gifts, told stories of mostly bad news: two of the three segments were about characters realizing that the thing they most wanted was bankrupt of what they actually needed. They were about expectations and disappointments, about human longing and our tendency to put our faith in the wrong things.

The first segment, however–the prologue–was the precise inverse: the thing we didn’t realize we wanted was the thing we needed most.

It’s a good story. It starts off with a Marine named Luke who, while serving in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005, spent his off-time watching Gilmore Girls.

Luke Huisenga: Yeah, I mean,…

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This Is Us, Unfortunately

This Is Us, Unfortunately

Golden Globe-nominated This Is Us follows the lives of triplets Kate, Kevin, and Randall. Kate and Kevin were the two surviving babies of a triplet pregnancy, and their parents, Rebecca and Jack, were determined to bring home three babies. Enter Randall: a black baby who had been left at the fire station by his biological father on the same day the other two were born. As the story unfolds during each episode, viewers get a glimpse into each character’s past and therefore a deeper understanding of their present—and an ever-increasing attachment to the characters themselves.

Unlike most entertainment today (including reality TV),…

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Trying to Curb Your Own Series of Unfortunate Events

Trying to Curb Your Own Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m on the tail end of a nasty cold that has as one of its side effects existential nihilism. To add insult to injury, this particular bug coincided with an anniversary date of the loss of a parent. Reflecting over the 15 years since that event, a lot more bad stuff has happened. In other words, I’m getting ready to channel Richard Lewis, Curb Your Enthusiasm-style:

Richard Lewis: First of all, I’m getting old, I have that irregular heart thing and this is not a good thing, I’m a recovering alcoholic, this is all very bad for me.
Larry David: What, we’re…

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Rite One Law & Order

Rite One Law & Order

Another gem from our friend Duo Dickinson. 

Every Saturday I look forward to working out: not because the joys of the BowFlex are thrilling, but because I love the dull repetition of cable TV Law & Order reruns that are on from 5am till midday.

Every Saturday I also look forward to going to church on Sunday and being part of services that are as unchanged as are each of the hundreds of Law & Order episodes I grind away to (sometimes while I write) (this piece, for example) (these golden offerings are rendered during the in-prison murder arranged by a guard…

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Westworld and the Myth of Christmas

Westworld and the Myth of Christmas

Here’s a great one from Geoff Holsclaw, Augustine scholar, Mockingcast moonlighter, and friend. Spoiler alert applies: 

The best works of art remind of us reality, or point to what could be.

Provoking the local community, one of our artists installed “Away from the Manger” on the church lawn. Life-sized versions of Mary, Joseph, and the three Wisemen were placed 15 feet away from baby Jesus in the manger. They “adults” were all gathered around a giant television tuned to Fox News.

We received outraged letters from another church about how we were profaning Christmas. The neighbors were mostly confused and the installation was…

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Mom Goggles

Mom Goggles

One of my favorite shows on television is The Goldbergs, which is a sitcom about a family in the 1980s. The mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), is ridiculous not only in her 1980s-ness (jazzercise, big hair, shoulder pads, mom jeans), but also in her single-minded devotion to her family. Her love for them often seems to travel only in a one-way direction. Her husband is apathetic. Her children are teenagers and embarrassed by her smothering affection. But she doggedly loves them anyway, in spite of herself and in spite of their protests. In one episode, her children accuse her of having…

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The Best of the Year in Television 2016

The Best of the Year in Television 2016

Back in November, The Washington Post reported that there is so much TV being produced in America today that Los Angeles is running out of studio space and production equipment. Now, I know you could argue that the scarcity reflects a bottomless appetite for distraction in our culture–that we’re “entertaining ourselves to death”. You’d have a point, to be sure. But that argument holds less water when you consider the wealth of great work that’s actually getting made. Meaning, while the mindless stuff will always be with us, it would appear that, at least when it comes to television, the quality of…

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The Cruelty of Age in “The Crown”

The Cruelty of Age in “The Crown”

Carrie Willard’s recent assessment is dead-on — “The Crown” deserves to be savored instead of binged. In the ninth episode, one of the more interesting subplots had the artist Graham Sutherland being commissioned to paint Winston Churchill’s portrait for his 80th birthday [spoilers follow]. Churchill (John Lithgow) is anything but a willing subject, nor is he excited about the unveiling of the finished product before an audience at Westminster Abbey. And while the audience applauds politely at the unveiling, Churchill’s initial disgust is barely masked by a forced smile. “A fine patriotic piece of modern art,” he manages.

After hearing that Churchill has…

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Tim Tebow’s Big God

Tim Tebow’s Big God

I’d be thrilled to have Tim Tebow as a son-in-law if my daughters weren’t spoken for. Look at him, he’s pretty perfect. Listen to him, he’s pretty easy to like. At ESPN HQ in Bristol, Connecticut, word is that everyone who works there with him loves him. He’s a super nice, cute, likable dude. I’m a Harry Connick Jr. fan too–best American Idol judge of all-time, and I watched all the seasons. So, this little exchange should be “can’t miss,” correct? Actually, that would depend on your definition of “Big God.” Take a listen:

Did you catch all that? Tim Tebow…

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The Creation of Man by Michelangelo Sistine Chapel

Violent Ends in the Season 1 Finale of Westworld

Spoilers abound.

In the opening episode of HBO’s Westworld, Dolores Abernathy (played by Evan Rachel Wood), in a state of robotic semi-unconsciousness, says this: “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty, to believe there is an order to our days, a purpose…the newcomers are just looking for the same thing we are…a place to be free.”

Dolores (Spanish for “sorrows”) is a humanoid robot, and this is her script.

David Peterson wrote a wonderful article for Mockingbird last month reviewing the initial episodes of Westworld. As he noted, the show is loosely…

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Drunk Theology with Robert Farrar Capon

Drunk Theology with Robert Farrar Capon

Just in time for the release of Capon’s never-before-published collection of essays, More Theology and Less Heavy Cream, available today! Head over to our store to get your copy!

Reading Robert Farrar Capon sometimes feels a bit like watching Drunk History. You do a lot of mental tallying, while realizing the comedians and actors, in an inebriated state, get closer to the truth than some of the the more studious historians do. Case in point, check out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent appearance on Drunk History explaining the Hamilton/Burr rivalry. Capon was no different. The side effect of his somewhat brash style is that you…

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