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David Nantais :
12 article(s)

David Nantais is a campus minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.
May 8th, 2008
Iraqi-Americans in the Detroit area struggle with the extinction of their religious roots

I had not seen her in over 20 years but when I came across her sitting at a table in the ballroom I immediately knew it was Mrs. N. The mother of a grade school friend, Mrs. N used to prepare food for us that was simultaneously exotic to my child’s palate, yet also quite comforting. Back then I knew that Pierre, my young friend, and his family were Chaldean; I could say the word but I did not fathom the civilization, history and culture contained therein. The family had come to the U.S. from Iraq in the early seventies and, like many other Arabs of both Muslim and Christian faiths, settled in the vicinity of Detroit, Michigan.
She looked the same, save that her black hair had turned almost completely white. After introducing…

December 22nd, 2006
Comic Book Artist

Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus—to fans of the recent X-Men movie trilogy, these names are very familiar. Before bursting into action on the big screen, however, these super heroes were ideas in the mind of comic book artist Dave Cockrum. Cockrum created these characters and a number of others in the mid-Seventies, and breathed new life into a struggling series for Marvel Comics. He died in November of complications from diabetes at the age of 63.
In the early 80′s, Dave Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont were the dynamic creative duo working on Uncanny X-Men. I hold them personally responsible for my hard-earned paper route money going into the coffers of the local comic store every month. Cockrum’s…

December 12th, 2006
Aimee Mann's new Christmas album is an exception to the rule

More often than not, when an artist records a Christmas album it is an apocalyptic sign that their career is rapidly spiraling downward and they are looking to capture some semblance of escaping relevance. Aimee Mann is an exception to that rule. Her latest release, One More Drifter in the Snow, is Christmas music for a new generation.
Mann has included plenty of familiar holiday classics like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “White Christmas” but the arrangements re-imagine their emotional core from an angle all her own. In this way, Mann works like a good theologian—wiping the rust off of a relevant core message and re-interpreting…

September 29th, 2006
Slayer's new album confronts America's religious hypocrisy

In recent years I have found that I do not recognize many names on the Billboard music charts. Perhaps this is a sign I am getting older and less connected with what is “hot” right now but—to borrow a line from This is Spinal Tap—I prefer to think that my musical tastes have gotten a bit more “selective.”
In either case, I was very surprised recently to see a familiar and controversial name at the top of the charts. The thrash metal band Slayer had sold enough units of their new disc, Christ Illusion (over 60,000 in the first week) to break into the top five. The cd, Slayer’s first in five years, was favorably reviewed in numerous national newspapers, including the New York…

July 24th, 2006
Syd Barrett and the Saints

Syd Barrett, co-founder of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, recently passed away at the age of 60. Barrett was a troubled soul, an amalgamation of genius and lunacy who, in the 60′s, ingested LSD like Pez candy and wrote narcotic-inspired songs that influenced thousands of musicians. Barrett’s tenure in Pink Floyd was short—he lasted only one album after which his band mates dismissed him for his crazy, erratic behavior, and replaced him with guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour. Syd spent the past 3 decades living in anonymity in England, avoiding the press and staying far away from the music business.
Despite, or perhaps due to his quasi-monastic seclusion, many rock bands continued…

July 22nd, 2005
Fox’s new reality show offers viewers an all-too real insight into a typical faith community

A little over a week ago, I was able to get a first look at the pilot for a new reality show called God’s Eye… that will be part of Fox’s primetime lineup this fall. The program reveals the ups and downs of a typical American faith community by chronicling a year in the lives of the pastor, staff and parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima Church an average Catholic parish in the metropolitan Chicago area.
The pastor, Fr. McMullen, 72, who has been at the parish for 9 years, is a quiet, balding man with a rather ample stomach that hangs over his belt. His wrinkled clerical shirt lies limp on his slumped shoulders. He says he hasn’t had a day off in over 8 months and McMullen’s worn and wearied face is proof enough that he isn’t

July 22nd, 2005
Remembering Star Trek’s James “Scotty” Doohan

Before I begin I need to get something out of the way. “Hello, my
name is Dave and I’m a recovering Trekkie.” Phew! It feels so good to get that off my chest. But I still need to come clean with you, though I’ve been in recovery for quite some time I must admit that I had a “slip” when I learned of the death on July 20th of James “Scotty” Doohan, star of the original “Star Trek” series.
While many people focus on Kirk and Spock, the show’s two primary characters, Scotty was always one of my favorite Trek characters. The Starship Enterprise would have been nothing without Scottish Chief Engineer Mr. Scott, who saved the Enterprise and its crew from demise on many occasions. The pop culture lexicon…

July 2nd, 2005
Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof takes a second crack at reducing poverty

“We don’t want your money—we want you!” You’ve seen the commercials—a quick montage of famous faces imploring viewers to help eliminate poverty forever. This marketing blitz is meant to grab our attention and focus us on a meeting that will take place in Edinburgh,
Scotland on July 7th, 2005. The leaders of the 8 richest countries in the world are gathering here to discuss trade practices, debt relief and how to halt the spread of AIDS, among other topics. Many people around the world hold out hope that at this meeting the “G8″ countries will pledge serious financial resources for an unprecedented effort toward eradicating poverty throughout the world. It is exciting,…

May 16th, 2005
The ethics of genetic engineering

In 1997, Ethan Hawke starred in a little-known movie about human genetic engineering called “GATTACA.” The title cleverly uses only the letters G, A, T, C, which stand for the four bases that make up deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA. The movie was not a huge hit, but the topic it addressed certainly struck a chord with many people. According to the website for the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com), “When Gattaca was first released, as part of a marketing campaign there were adverts for people to call up and have their children genetically engineered. Thousands of people called, wanting to have their offspring genetically engineered.”
Five years ago, a young boy named Adam…

February 9th, 2005
Aimee Mann's new album is a knockout

“Addiction and Grace,” the title of the Christian spiritual classic by Gerald May, is also an apt description of Aimee Mann’s latest disc, The Forgotten Arm . Her new collection of songs marks the fifth solo release for the former ’til Tuesday front woman and the first time she’s dared to tread into the highly dangerous territory known as “The Concept Album.” Fear not, music fans, The Forgotten Arm is a musical novella that contains some of Mann’s finest work to date. In it she recounts the story of John—a drug addict—and Caroline who meet at the Virginia State Fair in the 70′s and begin a troubled journey across the U.S. Through her melodies Mann is…

January 31st, 2005
10 albums that changed my world but never won a Grammy

Award show season is coming to a close. The big ones (Grammys, Tonys, Oscars) have all been distributed to this year’s winners and those of us who were not nominated for anything have had a chance to argue with one another about why our favorite stars should have won. Americans love award shows. It is strange in some respects because the movies, shows and music that garner awards every year are rarely our personal favorites. Our relationship to a movie or album is so personal. When it comes to the music that is most important to us, we probably feel an affinity to it because of the emotions it evokes, or the memories associated with it, and not because of any awards it may or may not have won.
Music can make the human…

January 1st, 2002
The Super Bowl hype won't ease Detroit's pain

Porn Stars, the Rolling Stones, violent sport and tons of money. No, this is not a description of Donald Trump’s last birthday party. THE SUPER BOWL IS COMING TO DETROIT!
There has been a buzz in the air for months in Motown. Detroit is preparing to play host to an estimated 100,000 visitors, including sports fans, media and Hollywood elites. The Rolling Stones are taking a break from their world tour to entertain the crowd at Ford Field at the halftime break. Adult film star Jenna Jameson and a bevy of her vixen gal pals are hosting a party the day before the big game, as are P-Diddy, Hugh Hefner and Kid Rock. This weekend, Detroit will be ground zero for some of the hottest parties in the nation.
White Flight
Detroit…

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