Busted Halo
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December 16th, 2004
Clint Eastwood, my father and going the distance.

“Please kill me. I don’t want this anymore. Please kill me.”
Three years ago, just a few weeks after my wedding, my 74-year-old mother spoke those haunting words to my father while she struggled to recover from a risky surgical procedure to repair her colon. Doctors had only given her a 25% chance of surviving and after the surgery, her recovery was slow and depression loomed large. She spent her days in anxiety and tears while my father watched her lose her will to live. Still, he traveled every day to be by her side. He slept little and worried much. My mother’s words rang in my ear this past weekend as I watched Clint Eastwood’s gripping tale, Million Dollar Baby (spoiler alert: Stop…

December 13th, 2004
a book by Terry Gross

In the introduction to a collection of her radio interviews broadcast on National Public Radio, Fresh Air host Terry Gross has a few words for potential skeptics: “You may be wondering what the point is of reading interviews that were meant to be listened to,” writes Gross, who has hosted Fresh Air since 1975. “But in going through transcripts in preparation for this book, I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the interviews I remembered as having been good radio also made for enjoyable reading. In reading the ones gathered here?and I probably shouldn’t admit this?I’ve learned things from them that went right by me in the studio.”
While guests on Fresh Air are often…

December 13th, 2004

Christmas Questions on the streets of NYC…

November 20th, 2004

BustedHalo hits the streets of New York…

November 14th, 2004
Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby doesn't go the distance

In one sense, Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby–which was nominated for seven Oscars earlier this week–will be familiar to anyone who has seen Rocky or The Great White Hope or any number of boxing movies. There’s the ornery old trainer, this time played by Clint Eastwood; the run-down gym full of has-beens; and the perfectly toned fighter who jumps rope faster than is humanly possible. But as recognizable as all of this is, the movie is not simply rehashing a tired clich?. That may be because the contender in this film is a woman. Or it may be because, in the end, Million Dollar Baby is not a boxing movie at all.
Let me explain: Million Dollar Baby has been touted as one of the best films of…

November 1st, 2004

How has the tsunami disaster affected your faith in God? Would God cause such destruction? Does it make you question your faith or belief in God?…

October 31st, 2004
A Neighborhood Divided Local man hasn't had Trick or Treaters since the Reagan administration.

At first I thought it’s because of my mole, you know, the one here on my nose? Like, I don’t think it’s that big a deal anymore, I mean after the therapy and the cream. But sometimes people still make comments like “Technically speaking, you might want to consider
listing that thing as a dependent?” silly stuff like that from my accountant. But I don’t think that’s any reason kids wouldn’t want candy. I mean, who doesn’t love candy? Especially the organic candy I have, which is, you know, healthy and all, not like all the processed garbage kids have these days. Honestly, who would want a “Milky Way” when you could have an organic oatmeal soy surprise?…

October 23rd, 2004

On Election Day 2004 all eyes were on the state of Ohio, where some voters stood in line for hours to cast their presidential vote. Busted Halo asked some young voters in Columbus, the state capitol, for their thoughts on the outcome of this year’s presidential election.…

October 1st, 2004
Babe Ruth's Curse isn't dead until the Red Sox win a World Series

True Red Sox fans know the pain and hardship of loss. Historically, their team doesn’t simply lose, they invent new
and creative ways of doing so. A recent HBO documentary likened Red Sox rooting to “looking into the sun.” Another fan said that rooting for Boston is “like watching the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy dies at the end.”
For years, Sox fans have maintained that their beloved team is cursed by the ghost of Babe Ruth who placed a hex on his former club for selling him to the Yankees. Since 1918 the Red Sox have been unable to capture the World Series title, blowing leads with only one out to go in some cases.
Now I’m not one for admitting a belief in such voodoo, but there does seem…

September 20th, 2004
Script Supervising and the Importance of Small Things

Recently I helped design a letterhead template consisting of just a couple images and panels, our company logo and, in teeny font, our address. I had felt there was no need to check spelling because there was no text to proofread.
After emailing it out, boy, did I hear back. In a practically blank template, I had managed to misspell one of just seven words?our street.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, my eye
My little discrepancy was seen by only a few dozen people. Which, humbling as it was, didn’t quite make the evening news. But take Seth Copans. As a New York based script supervisor for movies and TV shows including Ed, Law & Order, The Sopranos and Third Watch, his work is under the watchful eye of millions.…

September 18th, 2004
Rory O'Shea Was Here

There’s an easy way to judge a film about someone with a disability. If the protagonist is portrayed as saint, then it’s probably not worth watching. If he’s depicted as an SOB, then there might be something to it.
Most films about disability, unfortunately, fall into the former category. In movies like I Am Sam, the handicapped are presented as saints-in-the making who miraculously overcome the various obstacles they face. Squarely in the latter category is Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Irish writer Christy Brown in My Left Foot, which brilliantly captured the bitterness that can develop when a person is forced to depend on others to perform even the simplest of tasks
Of course, there…

August 9th, 2004
Drug Cartel preys on innocent teens in "Maria Full of Grace"

“Maria Full of Grace” is a work of fiction, but one can be forgiven for mistaking it for a documentary. The film, about a teenage girl from Colombia who becomes a “mule,” or courier, for a drug cartel, is so thick with detail that I kept thinking it must have been written by someone intimately familiar with the drug trade. A former drug smuggler? A crusading Latin American journalist? Turns out I was wrong. “Maria” was written and directed by Joshua Marston, a 35-year-old ex-news photographer from Williamsburg, N.Y.
Before penning the script, Marston interviewed a number of Colombian immigrants living in Queens. His film is the result of old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting?an…

August 9th, 2004
Confessions of an Online Gamer

Just after we graduated from high school, my friend Chris took me to see some young men I’d played the online game Everquest with but had never met in person. He pointed them out from across the food court and I had just half a moment to size them up before they came running over. Chris introduced me: “Guys, this is Moriex – I told you she was a girl!”
There was a pause, and then one of them asked, “Oh my God…are you the elf?” There aren’t a lot of people who would eagerly answer that question in the affirmative, but I did. Moriex was my Everquest alter-ego, a cute female half-elf who accompanied these guys on their adventures through the imaginary world of the game. Everquest is…

August 9th, 2004

Do you believe in God? Do you believe heaven or hell exist?…

August 2nd, 2004
Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping are taking on the forces of consumerism, one Starbucks at a time

On a muggy July evening just after work, people in the World Trade Center PATH train station hustle by on their Tuesday commute home, talking into their cell phones as they march resolutely to their destinations. Nothing about the scene appears the least bit unusual until a preppy young man walks by and loudly insists during his cell-phone conversation, “These are your rights!” About a minute later a well-coiffed middle-aged man in clerical garb passes by gesticulating wildly and proclaiming into his mobile, “Congress shall make no law?” It seems that every fifth or sixth person who passes by in the cavernous station is having the same conversation?and it’s not about dinner…

July 20th, 2004
Busted Halo's intrepid intern reports back on her recent trip

Even in the middle of the noisy competition hall, with dozens of other swords clashing and thwacking, the sound of a saber blade breaking is unmistakable. Usually you stop to see that nobody was hurt, throw the ruined blade away, and just go on with practice.
So it was strange, at a tournament in Havana in late June, to see a man in a Cuban National Team warm-up suit pick up a piece of my clubmate’s broken blade and then ask for the other half. “We weld them back together,” he explained.
En garde…
I got my start fencing in a public high school, a fact that surprises some people since fencing is often perceived as an elitist sport mainly for the wealthy. Despite programs to attract inner city kids, that reputation

July 18th, 2004
A Modern Look at an Ancient Prayer

A few years ago, I remember watching a network news report about the beneficial effects of meditative prayer. The report first featured a Catholic women’s group that was devoted to praying the rosary. The women shown were primarily in their fifties and sixties. Then the report moved on to meditations inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. The women who practiced that were in their twenties and thirties.
For me, that report signified the Catholic Church’s problem of attracting young people, especially with traditional devotions that have an image of being outdated. Having grown up in a Catholic family, I have an affection for some of these devotions myself and would like to see them continue among members…

July 3rd, 2004
Cult Classic The Stepford Wives Goes Under the Knife

What does a man want in a wife? Does he look for an independent, equal partner? Or does he want a Mrs. Cleaver/Barbie hybrid, a domestic goddess who lives to make her husband proud?

This is the question at the heart of The Stepford Wives, a remake of the 1975 cult classic. At the time of the original movie, the women’s movement had already taken root. Based on a best-selling novel, the film reflected society’s anxieties about the shifting roles of women.
Having enjoyed the first film, I was skeptical about the remake. To my surprise, I found it a mostly effective movie makeover, though, just like any contestant on The Swan, the final product ends up looking very, very different from the original.
Suburban…

June 24th, 2004
Through his recent book and Yoga DVD, Father Thomas Ryan is reclaiming the body in Christian spirituality.

Whether it’s Pilates or spinning, marathoning or extreme kayaking, Americans love their exercise. No doubt the number of new gym memberships and fitness-related New Year’s resolutions will spike in a couple of weeks, right after we’ve all ingested too many rum balls and glasses of egg nog.
Physical activity for the sake of good health is certainly a noble goal. No one would debate the health benefits of an after dinner walk, a daily run, or taking the stairs whenever possible. But Fr. Thomas Ryan a Paulist priest as well as a certified yoga instructor and avid skier, believes physical activity enhances both bodily and spiritual health. In other words, taking good care of our bodies has spiritual…

June 24th, 2004
The Busted Halo Interview with the author of the New York Times Bestseller Father Joe.

Perhaps it is fitting that it took someone whose job it is to satirize sacred cows and poke fun at hypocrites to write one of the most powerful spiritual memoirs in recent memory. We live in an age of irony and skepticism where nothing is precious and every motive is doubted; where institutions are generally reviled and authority is sneered at. Who better to speak about something as unexpected and sobering as a personal faith journey than someone who shares our culture’s sense of contempt?
Tony Hendra’s name may not be a household word yet, but anyone who has been awake and interested in popular culture over the last 30 years will certainly know his work. The British-born Hendra moved to the United States…

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