Busted Halo
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March 28th, 2004
Love and Memory in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If you’ve ever had a relationship you wish you could forget, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may give you a different perspective.
When introvert Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) meets extrovert Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), the ?opposites attract’ principle kicks in. Their coupling eventually turns rocky, so Clementine impulsively undergoes a new medical procedure that erases all memories of a specific person from your brain.
Joel is devastated?not just by Clementine’s rejection of him as a person, but by her desire to completely eradicate any knowledge of his existence. His knee-jerk reaction is to have the same procedure done on himself to take away the pain of lost love.
Head…

March 19th, 2004
Adventures of a Minor League Baseball Announcer

Opening day awaits
As the River City Rascals’ home opener approaches, radio baseball announcer Phil Giubileo’s to-do list grows longer. As the broadcast voice for this Frontier League single “A” team located 35 miles west of downtown St. Louis, Giubileo, who is heard over on KSLQ 104.5 FM, will pore over last year’s statistics, schmooze with the new players, and arrange his broadcast equipment in the press box. He will also be doing quite a bit of heavy lifting .
Heavy lifting? A radio announcer? Sure. In the minor leagues everyone lends a hand, especially at the beginning of the season. Before each Rascals game Giubileo spends 30 minutes sweeping out the press box and emptying…

March 17th, 2004
Missionary Bishop St. Patrick Was No Leprechaun

How much of what we do on St. Patrick’s Day is actually associated with the man St. Patrick? Turns out very little, actually.
Green beer? Leprechauns? Pinching? “Paddy” would say “Blarney—I wasn’t even born in Ireland!”
To the Irish in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. In Ireland, the day is celebrated by attending mass and praying for missionaries. All businesses are closed (except restaurants and pubs) and people celebrate most of the day like we would celebrate a lesser holiday.
Missionary man
At the age of 16, British-born ethnically Roman Patrick was captured by Irish…

March 16th, 2004
A preview of Joan of Arcadia second season

TV geek that I am, September starts me salivating for new shows and returning favorites. On top of my must-see list this year is the second season of Joan of Arcadia, the CBS series about Joan Girardi an ordinary teen who has an extraordinary relationship with God. Joan has carved out a unique niche among television critics and viewers not only because of its engaging storylines, emotional and spiritual depth and frequent laugh-out-loud humor but also for its ability to portray a God who is not limited to conventional notions of the divine. As the show’s credits make clear, God appears to Joan in various guises both modern and traditional, including Cute Boy God, Little Girl God, Old Lady God–it is a…

March 14th, 2004
Garden State explores the lives of over-medicated young adults

In an opening scene of Zach Braff’s film, Garden State , a plane is spiraling downward to its fiery doom, while in the cabin Braff’s character Andrew Largeman calmly adjusts the air control nozzle above his seat. Upon awakening from this bizarre dream Largeman’s nightmare comes to life when his father phones to inform him of his mother’s death and he reacts by quietly heading off to his job as a waiter at a Chinese restaurant.
Jarring contrasts like this are at the heart of Garden State, a brash, moving and wickedly funny dark comedy that Braff, a veteran of NBC’s Scrubs , wrote and directed himself. In his directorial debut, Braff tells the story of twenty-somethings who are lost…

March 14th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

Hey thans man. No problem. Why d’ya do that? you know he’ll just buy booze…

March 4th, 2004
When Hollywood Plays with Hate and History

Seeing Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was a profound experience. I left the theater with very mixed feelings.
The film reflects Jesus’ willingness to embrace his own humanity to the degree that he would endure the worst that human cruelty has to offer. It reminded me in a very powerful way of what I already knew: that Jesus lived and loved so radically that the powers of his time had to stop him.
It also left me with a deep unease. There is material in this film for the believer’s reflection, but the hateful portrayal of a group of people who have already borne so much of the world’s hate may render that material polluted at best.
The Passion in the past
It is important to keep in mind that…

February 19th, 2004
Or, How I Cleaned My Way to Cosmic Harmony

I’d been cleaning for weeks. It started the week before Thanksgiving; I had nine coming for Thanksgiving dinner and was damned if I didn’t have a clean and organized apartment (or at least living room) to show off to my family and friends. So I cleaned and cleaned and having met my goal of a tidy living room, I found myself still cleaning.
And loving it.
I was liberated with every bag of garbage tossed. An organized closet became a cause of celebration. To the dust bunnies hidden in dark corners for years, I was the Terminatrix with a vacuum hose.
I could feel the newfound vitality rushing through my body. First one corner then another, then a whole room. I couldn’t sleep after the bedroom was done; I…

February 17th, 2004
A February Salute to the Under-Appreciated Wives of Our Presidents

Mrs. America…
Attractive, hospitable, gracious—eager volunteers. This is the traditional image of the First Lady of the United States.
Since there is no official job description for the wife of the President, each First Lady has had to create her own platform. While on the public level, many were were quiet, many found ways to use their gifts for the good of the country, some wandered into the spotlight, and not a few helped to empower women in American society.
During February we traditionally celebrate the birthdays of Presidents Lincoln and Washington, nodding to all our U.S. leaders with a holiday known as “President’s Day.” But let us also remember the great women who accompanied them—both

February 17th, 2004
Why The Apprentice Is the Best New Show on TV

I never thought that I’d find a spiritual lesson in a show run by Donald Trump, but The Apprentice seems to have something in every episode.
For those who haven’t seen the show, it consists of a face-off between two teams vying to outdo each other in a small business venture (everything ranging from street vendoring to planning a charity auction).
The winners get perks (visiting George Steinbrenner in the owner’s box at Yankee Stadium) while the losing team has to face Trump and his cronies in the dreaded “board room” where somebody will get fired (a preview of which you’ve surely seen in the commercial).The wisdom of The DonaldTrump realizes that in business, things don’t…

February 9th, 2004
Wanting More from Music (and Less Boob on the Tube)

While flipping through my car stereo recently, I was shocked to hear Nelly say the F-word in his most recent song.
Me and Nelly
I’m not anti-Nelly. We did a movie together. Really. It’s called “Snipes.” But hearing an uncensored f-bomb in the middle of the day on the radio was something I’d never experienced. I thought it was illegal—so why not call the FCC?
The F in FCC
The FCC has been in the news a lot recently. First there was when Bono (of U2) said “f-ing brilliant” on the Golden Globes, and the media made a stink. The FCC didn’t fine him, because they said he used it as an adjective, not to describe a sex act. However, FCC chairman Michael Powell recently called…

January 27th, 2004
Prodded Beyond My Chocolate Martinis

It was the last week of December when a co-worker came bearing delectable treats like cheesecake, cookies, and tarts.
“Our department can’t eat another bite,” she groaned. I groaned right back. “Thanks, but we’ve been pigging out too”
Which might explain why these days I’m feeling less than svelte and more like a Sumo wrestler. As I ponder these thoughts, I reach for another See’s Candy and wash it down with a Starbucks mocha.
Too much of a good thing
I’ve always been embarrassed of the aches that come from overeating. I mean really?what a decadent discomfort. That’s like complaining that your wallet is too heavy because it’s weighted…

January 20th, 2004
Sport for Its Own Sake Despite the Hype

It rumbles near. The playoffs have ended, and the “Event,” the “All” soon arrives, on February 1st, only the second time the Super Bowl has been played outside of January.
Why so late?
Hard to say. The NFL season expanded to sixteen games back in 1978, and the NFL added a “bye” week in the 1980s, thus expanding the season. Those might be partial reasons.
And, of course: There’s a two week delay this year between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.
More hypeActually for years the NFL had a two-week delay before the Super Bowl, then it went to one week. I don’t know why it switched back to two weeks:

Some of my friends speculate that it’s scheduling…

January 16th, 2004
The Riveting but Overcooked "House of Sand and Fog"

“Some dreams can’t be shared,” warns the tagline for “House of Sand and Fog.” And thus the ominous stage is set for dreams to collide: those of Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connelly) a recovering addict and housecleaner, trying to keep her life together after her husband has left her; and those of Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley), a former Iranian colonel who, after serving in the military under the shah, emigrated to America with his family.
Kathy vs. Colonel
The county evicts Kathy from her house, a ramshackle San Francisco bungalow with a tiny view of the ocean, due to a supposed unpaid business tax that turns out to be a clerical error. By the time Kathy discovers the error it is too…

January 9th, 2004
A Cincinnati Native Takes Their Favorite Son to Task

In November of 2002, baseball’s all-time hits leader had the following conversation with the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig:
“Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball,” Pete Rose said during the meeting, which concerned the lifetime ban that prevents him from assuming what many think is his rightful place in baseball’s Hall of Fame. “But I never bet against my own team, and I never made any bets from the clubhouse.”
“Why?” Selig asked.
“I didn’t think I’d get caught.”
One, Two, Fourteen Strikes
Can we get a standing ovation for Pete here? And his graduate degree from the Bill “I Think That Stripper Liked Me” Clinton School…

January 4th, 2004
An Unexpected Bond Turns Everything Around in The Cooler

For years, self-help books have asserted that your thoughts influence your reality?that if you schlep through life feeling like a loser, the energies of the universe will make you a loser.
In The Cooler , William H. Macy plays Bernie Lootz, a man whose sad sack demeanor not only makes him perennially unlucky, but affects all those with whom he comes in contact. His job at the Shangri-La casino in Las Vegas is to “cool” down anyone’s winning streak that could cost the casino too much money. The simple brush of Bernie’s hand against a roulette table causes Lady Luck to make a U-turn right out the door.
Paying off debts
Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), the Shangri-La’s manager and seeming…

January 3rd, 2004

Do you think same-sex marriages will be made legal in your lifetime?…

January 1st, 2004

“Do you ever think about your own mortality and about what happens after death?”…

December 12th, 2003
J.R.R. Tolkien's Work and his Catholic Faith

When he was eight, his mother had to go back to work to support her children when an Anglican relative withheld financial support because of her conversion to Catholicism. (The establishment in England at this time was prejudiced against “popery” to an extent scarcely conceivable today.)
The martyrFour years later, his mother—overworked and worn out from poverty and the emotional pressures of family members who continued to criticize her conversion—lapsed into a diabetic coma and died in six days.
The boy was left in the care of Fr. Francis Morgan, a priest appointed by the mother to act as guardian.
This orphan: J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Two obsessions…

December 10th, 2003
Caring for the Temple of Me

I stepped on the scale the other day and it read:
Please get off of me, you fat bastard!
Somehow the scale that used
to read around 180 or 190 pounds has recently moved closer toward the 215 to 220 mark.
How did this happen? Where did forty pounds of unwanted flab around the mid-section on my six foot frame come from? Perhaps the answer lies not just in what’s on my plate but also within myself.
I’m generally a pretty lazy person who needs to be pushed at times. My wife has to ask me to do household chores, the laundry sometimes piles up, and my first drafts sometimes get handed in as articles unless someone prods me to work on them further.
What’s worse is that I do the same thing with the care of my body, the temple…

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