Art & Culture

strategies-to-improve-your-memory

When I was a lad of about six in the early 1960s, I went with my father to see my beloved Philadelphia Phillies play. At the time, my baseball hero was center fielder Tony Gonzales. Thrilled when he hit a home run to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, I could [...]

When I was a lad of about six in the early 1960s, I went with my father to see my beloved Philadelphia Phillies play. At the time, my baseball hero was center fielder Tony Gonzales. Thrilled when he hit a home run to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, I could [...]

Another day, and more mayhem, with no end in sight. Five police officers assassinated, others wounded, by snipers at a Black Lives Matter protest, after two black men were killed recently in dubious circumstances by (white) police officers. And, of course, dozens have been killed by bombings in the Middle East, Sunni versus Shiite, and [...]

In his extraordinary book Leftism, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, by way of showing that indeed all cultures are not equal and that colonialism was far from the unmitigated evil that students are now taught that it was, describes a peculiar custom practiced by the women of a tribe in southeast Asia. When a woman gives birth [...]

When Bill Gates announced his 2016 summer reading list, geeks rejoiced. As in previous years, it’s a stack of books full of a lot of long words and sentences. No James Patterson or Stephen King for him; certainly no Austen or Dickens. To his credit, there is a novel, a sci-fi one that does look [...]

We live in times of radical change, so if we want to understand what's going on why not start with the sayings of revolutionaries? In the most basic of modern revolutionary texts, the Communist Manifesto (1848), Marx and Engels tell us that in modern industrial society “all that is solid melts into air, all that [...]

There once was an excellent Jesuit boarding school in England by the name of Beaumont, which began admitting boys back in the mid 1800s. Soon after opening its doors, it decided to challenge a neighboring school to a game of soccer. And so the headmaster sent his counterpart at nearby Eton a letter suggesting a [...]

In Philadelphia, in what now is called Independence Hall, is preserved a Chippendale style chair crafted in 1779 by the cabinetmaker John Folwell, with a sun on the horizon carved at the top. For nearly three months in 1787, George Washington used this chair during the sessions of the Federal Convention. According to James Madison, [...]

One of the great legacies of Union victory in the Civil War was the preservation of “these United States.” Historian Shelby Foote noted in the Ken Burns PBS documentary The Civil War, “Before the war, it was said, ‘the United States are…’. Grammatically, it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of [...]

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” True in Thoreau’s age, perhaps, not so much in ours. It seems the decibels of desperation have increased since Henry David’s days near Walden Pond. And not decibels only, but desperation. Nowadays we take our desperation at alarmingly acceptable rates. How often we merely “consume” media [...]

In responding to the Orlando massacre at a same-sex nightclub, Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg found religion, including Catholicism, responsible for the slaughter. He wrote, “sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people.” And he is right [...]

In 1967, the 39th Academy Awards were dominated by one film: A Man for All Seasons (1966). It was nominated for ten Oscars; in the end, it won six. By any measure that was a phenomenal haul, adding to its already existing international awards and the commercial success then being enjoyed worldwide. That the film’s [...]

Millennials—who most researchers and commentators identify as that generation born from the early 1980s to 2000—may grow weary of hearing their parents and grandparents say, “Young people today seem more self-centered than in my day,” but their forebears are right. Their narcissism, in comparison to past generations, has been empirically verified in the work of [...]

At the end of a class in early March, one of my students raised his hand and asked if there was any homework in ethics class. I was somewhat confused by the inquiry, since the student was currently not taking ethics. When he saw the expression of confusion on my face, he responded, “You know, [...]

A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. ∼  Henry David Thoreau, Walden A few months ago, a young woman at Stanford [...]

Multiculturalism is a thorny topic. It is also a topic on which any truly rational discussion is very difficult. The problem is that many people equate criticism of multiculturalism with racism. Since nobody wants to be accused of racism (quite rightly), it is easier and safer to avoid talking about anything that might get one [...]

One need not recount again the abominable details of Brock Turner’s “20 minutes of action,” or those of his trial and recent conviction on three counts of sexual assault. Enough ink has been spilled in outrage (rightfully so) over his woefully short prison sentence, and the support for his victim’s courageous statement before the court [...]

They all think any minute I'm going to commit suicide. What a joke. The truth of course is the exact opposite: suicide is the only thing that keeps me alive.  ~ Walker Percy Ordinarily I’d avoid commenting much on a movie I hadn’t seen. However, I’m willing to make an exception in the case of “Me [...]

On Memorial Day 2016, a day to remember and mourn the sacrifice of America’s war heroes, dozens of people gathered in Cincinnati to mourn and remember a gorilla. Over the Memorial Day weekend, a 3-year-old boy slipped through the barricades at the Cincinnati Zoo into the gorilla enclosure. The horrified crowd screamed as the child [...]

I have always wondered why people enjoy scaring themselves, intentionally. Around Halloween, for instance, entertainment-seekers spend good money to have someone frighten them—perhaps by watching a horror movie, or at one of those warehouses filled with demented decorations and actors hired to dress up in hideous disguises and jump out from hidden places to frighten [...]

In parish lectures I am frequently confronted by parents distraught over their children’s experiences in their Bible courses at colleges and universities across the country. It is not only in the religion departments of state and private universities, but also in Catholic colleges and universities where their children encounter doubts and outright skepticism concerning the [...]

In recent years several books have been published that chronicle—either as history or memoir— the efforts of those committed to ending legalized abortion. One of the first was my own Abandoned: the Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, followed by the late Dr. and Mrs. John C. Willke’s Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement: An Inside [...]

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